These missions took place from November 2009 to March 2010 and formed part of a fact-finding
mission series to six Member States (MS):
• to collect information concerning the implementation of the Regulations (EC) No 178/2002,
No 852/2004, No 853/2004, and No 854/2004 in small establishments;
• to review any special measures taken by the Competent Authorities (CA) to provide flexibility
in the implementation of some of this legislation for small establishments, in particular in
relation to structures, layout, equipment, operational practices, Food Business Operator's
(FBO) obligations and their controls; and
• to identify within the context of these measures, “best practices” with a view to their wider
Based on the information collected during these six missions the following can be concluded:
The level of application of flexibility measures was very different in the six MS visited: whereas for
example the United Kingdom, Austria and Germany had made use of many flexibility provisions
other MS such as the Czech Republic had only made very limited use of flexibility measures.
In some cases the CCA has provided guidelines for application of national measures to its
authorities. In other MS it was solely left to the local authorities to apply flexibility at local level
using the provisions already provided in the Hygiene Regulations without adoption of additional
Also within MS the flexibility measures applied were different between the regions and the CCA
was not always aware about the details of the flexibility measures applied in all parts of the MS.
The majority of provisions in place relate to the meat sector (structure, equipment, official
supervision, microbiological testing). In the dairy sector flexibility was mainly applied in relation
to food products with traditional characteristics and food businesses that were situated in regions
subject to geographical constraints (mountainous areas).
Notification of flexibility was not consistently applied and not all draft national measures/national
measures had been notified or informed of as required.
The documentation of the application of flexibility measures in individual establishments did not
in all cases allow for verification on-the spot.
In some MS visited the measures provided for seem to go beyond the provisions currently foreseen in the Hygiene Regulations.
In a number of other areas where flexibility could provide ad-hoc solutions in small capacity
establishments the CA have so far not taken any action. The result was, however, that in small
establishments visited which could not benefit from flexibility measures non-compliance was more frequent.
FVO/ European Union.