Regulatory framework for protecting consumer health
A regulatroy framerwok for protecting consumer health enables traceability and transparency in the agri-food sector. The Codex Alimentarius provides the basis for statutory minimum hygiene and impurity criteria that must be observed at all stages of the value chain, including on farms, particularly when handling perishable products.
In light of the international flows of goods and the constant development of products, manufacturing processes and forms of distribution, the food safety system needs to be continuously reviewed and updated. The legislator can delegate these inspection tasks to approved service providers. The WTO SPS-Agreement lays down the rules for applying sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures that WTO members must comply with in their food safety and animal and plant health regulations. The measures that apply in the various countries should not unfairly discriminate between different WTO members.
The auditing of food companies (checking the inspections) takes the form of risk-based company inspections and targeted sampling with varying analysis criteria. Sensitive products (e.g. dairy products) are generally monitored more often. Special monitoring plans are in place for some product groups.
- A properly functioning country-wide administration and monitoring system with access to the relevant information and sufficient technical and human capacities for its design, implementation and monitoring
- Clear and coherent political strategy and targets for policy-makers and public authorities
- Clear responsibilities in public authorities
- Country-wide register of farms and / or enterprises involved in the agri-food sector
- Laboratories for residue and contaminant analysis in food and feedstuffs
- Properly functioning veterinary and health authorities
- Quality management systems
- Regular neutral inspections on farms and in agri-food enterprises
- Sanction mechanisms
- Skilled / specialised personnel to man the respective institutions / provide the respective services
- Training opportunities for public adminstrative staff
Possible Negative Effects
- Domestic businesses that cannot meet the standards could be forced out of the market
- Non-listed companies could be marginalised (nepotism)
- Trade barriers could be set up that discriminate against third countries
- Suspicion of non-compliance could be used as a trade barrier