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Parliamentary questions
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20 March 2019
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000638/2019

The responsibility for enforcing food chain legislation lies with Member States, which are required to establish a system of official controls to verify compliance by operators and sanction non-compliance.

The Commission regularly monitors delivery by the Member States of their control duties and takes appropriate measures when it becomes aware of failures to enforce EU provisions.

The Commission immediately carried out an audit in Poland to assess the operation of official controls over the production of bovine meat and required the withdrawal from the market of any meat (distributed in Poland or in other Member States) that could endanger public health.

According to Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002(1) without prejudice to the applicable provisions of Union and national law on access to documents, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that food or feed may present a risk for human or animal health, then, depending on the nature, seriousness and extent of that risk, public authorities shall take appropriate steps to inform the general public of the nature of the risk to health, identifying to the fullest extent possible the food or feed, or type of food or feed, the risk that it may present, and the measures which are taken or about to be taken to prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk.

On sanctions, the new legislation on official controls(2) will impose as of 14 December 2019 tougher penalties and require Member States to ensure that financial penalties applicable to violations of agri-food chain rules at least reflect the economic advantage sought through the violation or a percentage of the operator's turnover.

Finally, the Commission is considering possible ways to strengthen the fight against food fraud and the enforcement of food chain rules.

(1)Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, OJ L 031 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(2)Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation), OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1‐142.

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