FVO report – Fishery product from Estonia

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Estonia carried out from 10 to 20 June 2014, as part of its programme of audits in Member States.

The objectives of the audit were to verify that official controls of fishery products are organised and carried out in accordance with the relevant provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and to evaluate whether the control system in place for the production and placing on the market of
fishery products is in compliance with EU requirements.

The report concludes that there is an organised and documented official control system in place which is in accordance with the relevant provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004. In general, this control system is consistently and adequately implemented and covers the fishery products production chain.

Some shortcomings were identified in the establishment approval process.  Official controls are generally implemented in accordance with EU requirements. Nonetheless, certain weaknesses were identified in the control of fishing vessels and landing conditions (including organoleptic checks), HACCP evaluation and verification of food business operators´own-checks for some microbiological criteria.

Furthermore, although steps have been taken by the competent authority to strengthen the system of controls over Baltic Sea fish which may contain dioxins and PCBs above the EU maximum limits, some gaps remain in measures put in place and their implementation by some food business operators.

In the laboratory visited, methods used for official analyses are included in the scope of accreditation. However, deficiencies in validation and internal quality controls were noted in method for histamine analysis.

FVO Report – Organic production and labelling in France

This report describes the outcome of an audit which took place in France from 9 to 20 September 2013 in order to evaluate the control systems for organic production and labelling of organic products; a previous audit to France on the same topic was carried out in 1999.

There is an overall effective system for controls of organic production and labelling of organic products in France, while national provisions provide a clear legal framework for the implementation of organic production rules although some of them differ from the requirements as laid down in the European Union (EU) legislation.

Control Bodies (CBs) are not always accredited before being approved by the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO). This is not in accordance with EU requirements, as accreditation according to norm EN 45011 may sometimes occur a long time after their approval. Although CBs have in general a sufficient number of suitably qualified and experienced staff, deficiencies in the performance of newly recruited staff without appropriate tutoring were noted.  Some controls carried out by the CBs were found to be ineffective. Differences in interpretation of analytical results for residues of pesticides and contaminants were noted between the CBs visited.

In some cases, the threshold for initiation of an investigation was not in accordance with EU legislation. In some cases, CBs did not immediately notify the Central Competent Authority (CCA) when deficiencies, affecting the organic status of the products, had been detected. In a limited number of cases enforcement was weak or missing.

Documentation, issued to operators, setting out their approval status is not published, which is contrary to the requirements of Article 92(a) of Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. As a consequence, those receiving product along the supply chain, those performing controls and consumers, cannot readily verify that suppliers and products have been appropriately certified.

In general, controls on labelling of organic and in-conversion products were effective. Traceability from retailer to the producer was satisfactory (in one case, identifying an ingredient erroneously declared as organic).

The French instructions delegate to CBs the administration of certain exceptions to organic production standards, which is not in compliance with EU requirements, whilst in other cases (e.g. mutilations) derogations have been granted countrywide without any effective control or verification.

Procedures for communication, co-ordination and co-operation between the CBs and the CCA, and among the different Competent Authorities (CAs), are in place, with the only exception being the French Paying Agency (ASP); with the effect that important information concerning controls carried out by the ASP are not being used to target or prioritise the controls operated by other
CAs.

(Source DG Sanco – FVO website)