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Fitness Check of General Food Law

Introduction

As part of its 'Smart Regulation' policy, the Commission has initiated a Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT). This is a continuous process, affecting the whole policy cycle – from the design of a piece of legislation to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and, where justified, revision.

Under the first stages of this programme, the Commission has reviewed the entire stock of Union legislation and decided on follow-up actions, including 'Fitness Checks' involving comprehensive policy evaluations aimed at assessing whether the regulatory framework for a particular policy sector is 'fit for purpose'. Fitness Checks provide an evidence-based critical analysis of whether Union actions are proportionate to their objectives and delivering as expected.

Fitness check

In 2014, the Commission launched a Fitness Check on the General Food Law Regulation, which establishes the fundamental pillars of the food and feed law. It is a comprehensive policy evaluation assessing whether the legislative framework introduced by the General Food Law Regulation for the entire food and feed sector is 'fit for purpose' and whether it captures and reflects policy trends of today. It contributes to the political agenda defined by President Juncker, giving priority to modernisation and simplification of existing legislation.

The mandate

The mandatepdf for the Fitness Check on the General Food Law Regulation, published in 2014, defines the overall scope and aim of the exercise and sets out a number of key questions that are to be addressed in relation to the Fitness Check criteria:

  • Effectiveness (Have the objectives been met?)

  • Efficiency (What are the costs and benefits involved?)

  • Coherence (Does the policy complement other actions or are there contradictions?)

  • Relevance (Is EU action still relevant?)

  • EU added value (Can or could similar changes have been achieved at national/regional level, or did EU action provide clear added value?)

In doing so, the Fitness Check on the General Food Law Regulation will take into account previous evaluations already performed in the area of food and feed as well as the results of two external studies that have been commissioned to support the Fitness check:

  • External study on the general part of General Food Law Regulation (Articles 1-21)

  • External study on the RASFF and the management of emergencies/crises (Articles 50 to 57)

Broad stakeholder consultations have been performed during the whole Fitness Check exercise to collect the views of relevant actors in the food chain and to gather information and evidence.

How can you contribute?

The collection of evidence, data and information constituted a critical part of this Fitness Check. Ensuring that all interested parties had been able to provide input and make their views known has been crucial to the process.

Evidence, data and information are gathered in the context of the two external studies which have been initiated in September 2014 and will be completed by mid-2015.

External study on the evaluation of the general part ofGeneral Food Law Regulation (Articles 1-21):

This external study focuses on the fundamental principles, requirements, objectives and definitions of food and feed policy, namely Articles 1-21 of the Regulation. Follow this link to the 'Terms of Reference' of this specific studypdf(534 kB) Choose translations of the previous link .

The main data collection tools include:

External study on RASFF/Emergencies/Crisis management

This external study focuses on Articles 50 to 57 of the General Food Law Regulation, as complemented by Regulation (EC) No 16/2011. From this link you can access the Evaluation of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed and of crisis management procedurespdf(64 kB) Choose translations of the previous link .

The main tools for the study are:

  • Document research

  • Questionnaires for:

    • the survey of the RASFF national contact points and other stakeholders involved in the RASFF

    • the survey of relevant competent authorities in the field of food/feed crisis management and relevant stakeholders

  • Interviews with competent authorities

  • Case studies.

Indicative timeframe and key milestones for the Fitness Check

  • April 2014: Launch of the Fitness Check exercise on the General Food Law Regulation

  • September 2014 –June 2015: External studies in the areas of the general part of the General Food Law Regulation and on the RASFF/crisis management/emergency procedures.

  • 1st semester 2016: Publication of the Commission Staff Working Document on the results of the Fitness Check on the General Food Law Regulation.