In this report published last December the EU Commission Food and Veterinary office reported some significant weaknesses in the official controls system for food of non animal origin and seeds for sprouting in Germany. The inspection was carried out in November 2013, so it is quite old: I expected better answers to the E.Coli crisis in 2011) from the German competent authorities.
The report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in Germany, carried out from 12 to 22 November 2013 under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004.
The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the system of official controls in the area of food hygiene for primary production of Food of Non-Animal Origin (FNAO) and the system of official controls in the area of traceability and import of seeds intended for sprouting and sprouts, microbiological criteria for them and the approval of sprouting establishments.
It was concluded that there are CAs designated for the official controls on hygiene in primary production of FNAO. The existing legal framework for the risk categorisation of FBOs does not take into account all the establishments which produce food of plant origin. This means that the official control system for primary production of FNAO does not fully take into account all risk sources and covers only post-harvest activities in a limited number of establishments. These controls do not cover the observance of hygiene requirements listed in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004. This means that the potential risks arising from microbiological contamination are not systematically taken into account in the planning of controls.
New EU legislation on seeds for sprouting and sprout producing establishments has not been adequately implemented with regard to the preliminary testing of batches of seeds before their release for processing as required by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005.
(Source: DG Sanco website)