The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carried out n an audit in Greece from 11 to 22 November 2013, in order to evaluate the control systems in place for organic production and labelling of organic products, in particular, the implementation of the requirements as set out in Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.
A comprehensive control system is in place covering all stages of production, preparation and distribution of organic products. Effective and efficient controls take place at operators covering all relevant aspects, including a systematically performed mass-balance at all types of operators for the entire period between inspections. Adequate communication, co-ordination and co-operation within and between Competent Authorities, Control Bodies and operators takes place allowing for the exchange of information as necessary and for appropriate action to be taken in cases of identified non-compliances. Sanctions and fines imposed are effective, proportionate and dissuasive. The system provides, in general, sufficient guarantees that EU rules for organic production are complied with.
Some shortcomings were identified with regard to checks of cleaning records at processors with parallel production, sampling for pesticide residues and random inspections at operators.
The report makes a number of recommendations to the Greek authorities, aimed at rectifying the shortcomings identified and enhancing the implementing and control measures in place. The most interesting recommendations is the following:
“Ensure that random inspections at operators are unannounced as required by Article 3(2) of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and Article 65(4) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008.”
That should by quite obvious principle but in my experience also in othe MS (Italy included) too often the inspections, especially from the control bodies in the organic sector, are known in advance by the FBO.