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Parliamentary questions
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9 June 2016
P-003423/2016(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-003423/2016

1. Regulations 178/2002(1) and 882/2004(2) provide the legal framework to ensure that food imported into the Union complies with EU safety standards. The Commission has also established a list of food of non-animal origin which, on the basis of known or emerging risks, requires an increased level of controls prior to their introduction into the EU. The list appears in Regulation 669/2009(3) and is regularly reviewed. The 2013 European Union report on pesticide residues in food(4) — in which most of the products referred to by the Honourable Member are mentioned — highlights exceedances in Maximum Residue Limits in products from non-EU countries. Regulation 669/2009 is expressly designed to deal with such non-compliances by ensuring that increased levels of controls at the border detect any such non-compliant products.2. The Commission ensures high levels of transparency on identified problems in relation to imports, notably through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. Findings in relation to pesticide residues, referred to by the Honourable Member, are also published by the European Food Safety Authority.3. Through a system of official controls to verify compliance with EU food law or equivalent standards, Member States fulfil their responsibilities to enforce food safety rules. The Commission monitors the delivery of controls by Member States, and indeed also those of non-EU countries, through regular audits. Such monitoring ensures consistency in food safety levels across the EU, both in terms of goods produced domestically and those imported from non-EU countries. The Commission's Health and Food Audits and Analysis Service carries out its audits on the basis of careful planning to ensure resources are directed to those areas most in need.

(1)Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28.1.2002 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 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(2)Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29.4.2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules, OJ L 165, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(3)Commission Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 of 24.7.2009 implementing Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the increased level of official controls on imports of certain feed and food of non-animal origin and amending Decision 2006/504/EC, OJ L 194, 25.7.2009, p. 11-21.
(4)EFSA Journal 2015;13(3):4038, The 2013 European Union report on pesticide residues in food, European Food Safety Authority, 2015.

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