The EU is the world's biggest food importer and has comprehensive legislation aimed at ensuring that imports adhere to Community standards. For this, adequate controls in third and particularly developing countries are needed.
The need to comply with such standards may limit developing countries' export capacity. This is due to the lack of production surveillance structures and inability to provide safety guarantees. In areas such as fruit and vegetables, safety checks are often the responsibility of private organisations and importers.
The Commission is thus organising training workshops to enable developing country food control officials to verify compliance with EU requirements.
How many workshops are taking place?
In all, seven workshops are taking place. Five of these are three-day workshops on fishery and aquaculture products. In addition, one two-day workshop is to be held on each of residues and contaminants in fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices, and food contact materials.
Who is the training aimed at?
The workshops are intended for competent authority control staff from third, and particularly developing countries. They take place in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the events in each region are intended for participants that region. Industry representatives may also attend at their own expense. On average, each workshop caters for around 60 participants, of which about 25% may come from the private sector.
What activities are planned?
- The first day is spent in a collective plenary session including presentations on and discussions of relevant EU food legislation.
- On the second and third days of fishery and aquaculture products workshops, participants visit fishing vessels, landing sites, markets, aquaculture farms and processing and distribution establishments. The visits are followed by discussion sessions on practical application of EU requirements.
- For workshops on residues and contaminants, and food contact materials, the second day is dedicated to working groups on application of legislation.
- Participants are requested to complete evaluation forms to assess the standard of training.
What topics are covered?
Topics to be covered include:
- The problems faced by the fishery/agriculture sectors as well as the processing and distribution sectors in the region concerned;
- Main features of EU food legislation, including recent developments in food law, food hygiene rules and plant health rules;
- Impact of EU policies on food producers;
- Organisation of official controls;
- The role of the Food and Veterinary Office in monitoring the application of EU legislation.
When and where are the workshops taking place?
27-29 March, Agadir, Morocco, (fishery and aquaculture products);
17-18 April, Cairo, Egypt, (residues and contaminants in fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices);
22-24 May, Port Louis, Mauritius, (fishery and aquaculture products);
29-31 May, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, (fishery and aquaculture products);
17-19 July, Puerto Varas, Chile, (fishery and aquaculture products);
18-20 September, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, (fishery and aquaculture products);
31 October-1 November, Bangkok, Thailand, (food contact materials).
How do I participate?
Anyone interested in taking part in training should contact their relevant national competent authority. For third countries, the national competent authority proposes participants directly to the contractor. The contractor then submits the list of participants to the Commission for approval.
Who has been awarded the contract for arranging the workshops?
European Application of Technology and Services (AETS) in consortium with the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR) and AINIA
Further information on training can be found at: AETS