ARCHIVE: Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules

The EU White Paper on Food Safety (PDF 144 KB) (published in January 2000) identified the need to establish a European Community-wide framework for official controls.

The resulting Community Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 882/2004) was devised to provide a more comprehensive and integrated, risk-based, EU-wide, "farm to table" approach to official controls in the areas of feed, food, animal health and animal welfare.

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 aims to improve the consistency and effectiveness of official controls across the European Community and consequently to raise standards of food safety, consumer protection, prevention of the spread of animal diseases, the humane treatment of animals, and to provide a greater degree of transparency for consumers about enforcement arrangements.

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 deals with arrangements for the monitoring of compliance with, and the enforcement of, feed and food law and animal health and animal welfare legislation.

It sets out the general approach to be taken and the principles that need to be adopted by the competent authorities of EU Member States that have responsibility for undertaking official controls. It also provides the legal basis for the European Commission to carry out assessments of the effectiveness of national enforcement arrangements.

Guidance Notes for enforcement authorities on the requirements of Regulation (EC) 882/2004

Regulation (EC) 882/2004 sets out general requirements for the authorities that are responsible for enforcement of feed and food law and animal health and animal welfare legislation. These Notes are designed (in Q&A format) to explain the provisions of the Regulation and to provide informal and non-statutory advice. They are aimed primarily at the enforcement authorities responsible for monitoring and enforcing animal health and animal welfare rules in England, but may also provide useful information for Defra external stakeholders. These Notes were part of a consultation package on Defra legislation implementing Regulation (EC) 882/2004 - The Official Controls (Animals, Feed and Food) (England) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 2006/3472), which came into force on 16 February 2007.

Q&A Notes for enforcement authorities on the animal health and animal welfare elements

National legislation

Defra has been working on national legislation to implement Regulation (EC) No 882/2004, and in particular the animal health and welfare elements.

For Defra, the legal measures needed to apply Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 are included in the Official Controls (Animals, Feed and Food) (England) Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/3472) (PDF 71 KB). Parallel legislation has been made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They complement the Food Standards Agency’s Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No 2006/15).

The Official Controls (Animals, Feed and Food) (England) Regulations 2006 designate the competent authorities responsible for carrying out official controls in relation to animal health and welfare rules, and for certain feed and food law requirements that are the responsibility of Defra. These are the Secretary of State and Local Authorities (including where the latter act as food authorities in the areas covered by the Regulations).

The Regulations also provide for:

  • the exchange of information between competent authorities;
  • independent powers for auditors to enter farmers' and other businesses’ premises and to inspect documents in order to carry out audits of enforcement activity by a competent authority;
  • the Secretary of State to require audits of Local Authorities;
  • Food Standards Agency (FSA) auditors to enter premises, inspect documents etc, when carrying out audits on behalf of Defra;
  • inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State, and by Local Authorities when exercising their existing powers of entry, to bring with them European Commission experts and officials from other Member States' competent authorities;
  • assistance by the UK to other Member States where feed or food law has been breached; and
  • the recovery of expenses in certain cases of non-compliance.

In addition, the Official Controls (Animals, Feed and Food) (England) Regulations 2006 make it an offence:

  • to obstruct auditors, inspectors and those accompanying them, and enforcement officers, i.e. those enforcing the provisions of the S.I.; and
  • to provide false or misleading information to an auditor, an inspector, or an enforcement officer.

The penalty on summary conviction for the offences is a fine at level 5 of the standard scale (currently £5,000) or three months' imprisonment, or both.

Defra has responsibility in England for application of Regulation (EC) 882/2004 in relation to animal health and animal welfare rules, as well as certain limited elements of feed and food law. These are:

  1. organic foods, including imported organic food products;
  2. protected name food products and specific character food products;
  3. veterinary medicines residues;
  4. pesticide residues;
  5. animal by-products (in relation to feed);
  6. TSEs in relation to testing (including sampling) controls on bovine, ovine and caprine animals slaughtered for human consumption;
  7. the import from third countries of, and intra-Community trade in products of animal origin; and
  8. beef labelling.

Single integrated multi-annual National Control Plan for the United Kingdom (January 2007 to March 2011)

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 covers official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law and animal health and welfare rules. Amongst other things, it requires EU Member States to produce a single integrated, multi-annual National Control Plan, and have it implemented by 1 January 2007.

The National Control Plan is to include general information on the structure and organisation of the control systems covering feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare, as well as plant health under Directive 2000/29/EC.

The task of drawing up the UK’s National Control Plan was divided between Defra and the Food Standards Agency. Defra with support from the Scottish Executive Environment & Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD), the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department for Agriculture & Rural Development, Northern Ireland (DARDNI), has drawn up the animal health and animal welfare elements. The FSA were responsible for co-ordinating the feed & food and plant health elements.

The National Control Plan is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

In addition to the information contained in the National Control Plan, the tables of legislation provide details of the animal health and animal welfare legislation for which Defra, SEERAD, the Welsh Assembly Government and DARDNI are responsible, and which falls within the scope of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004.

Contacts

Further information is available from: Email: offc@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Page last modified: September 18, 2009
Page published: 5 February, 2003