The European Commission has adopted a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. The package of measures provide a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools to ensure the effective application of the rules guiding the operation of the food chain.
The current body of EU legislation covering the food chain consists of almost 70 pieces of legislation. Package of reform will cut this down to 5 pieces of legislation and will also reduce the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.
Businesses will benefit from simpler, science and risk-based rules in terms of reduced administrative burden, more efficient processes and measures to finance and strengthen the control and eradication of animal diseases and plant pests. Consumers will benefit from safer products and a more effective and more transparent system of controls along the chain.
The package will introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate animal health in the EU based on the principle that "prevention is better than cure".
It aims to improve standards and to provide a common system to better detect and control disease and tackle health, food and feed safety risks in a coordinated way.
This enhanced system, allied with better rules on identification and registration, will give those working to protect our food chain, such as farmers and veterinarians, the capability to react quickly and to limit spread of disease and minimise its impact on livestock, and on consumers.
Furthermore, it introduces categorization/prioritisation of diseases, which require intervention at EU level. As such, it enables a more risk based approach and appropriate use of resources
Sufficient flexibility is provided to adjust the animal health measures to different sizes and types of establishments (e.g. Small and medium enterprises, hobby holding, etc.) to different local circumstances in particular with respect to registration and approval requirements for establishments and the keeping animals and products.
On a broader scale the law needs to be flexible and robust enough to provide for the effective response of the whole EU in the event of important climate changes thus giving us the tools to deal with new and unknown emerging risks so that we can adjust quickly to new scientific developments and international standards.
Other EU institutions, including the European Parliament and the Council will consider the Commission's package of measures and will adopt their positions in due course. At this stage, it can be estimated that the package will enter into force in 2016.
Monday May 6, 2013/ European Commission/ European Union.