2019 Annual Report - The EU Food Fraud Network and the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System
About the system
Primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the EU agri-food related legislation rests with the food (or feed) business operators. Detecting and fighting food fraud is the responsibility of the Member States, notably under the provisions of the Official Control Regulation. It provides a new comprehensive set of tools to tackle fraud, including provisions for cooperation in case of violations spanning across borders. It also gives the Commission a role in coordinating and enforcing the effective application of these measures at EU level.
Since 2015, members of the EU Food Fraud Network exchange information within the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System (AAC). The AAC is an IT system developed and managed by the European Commission. An EU country can contact the competent authorities of another EU country and share information in a secure manner, which can lead to administrative actions, administrative sanctions or judicial proceedings. This exchange of information is an essential element for effective cross border investigation and for strategic assessment of the threat of fraud. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1715 details the new rules for the functioning of the AAC system within the general information management system for official controls (IMSOC).
The AAC system will be fully integrated into the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed by the end of 2020. This system (iRasff) enables the efficient sharing of information and allows swift reaction when risks to public health and other non compliances are detected in the food chain.
(Assistance without request in the event of non-compliance and Assistance in the event of non-compliance creating a risk or a repeated or potentially serious infringement)
As an example, products sold as Extra Virgin Olive Oil but which did not meet EU standards and of inferior quality were being distributed to the restaurants and retail trade in the United Kingdom. The products were imported from Spain. Following a request from the United Kingdom addressed to Spain in the AAC-FF, actions were initiated by the Spanish competent authorities against the food business operator for a possible fraud.
Until 14 December 2019, the AAC system worked on a voluntary basis for suspicions of fraud including a cross-border element. Thus, and until that date, the number of exchanges in the system was neither representing the entirety food fraud incidents - occurring in the EU:
- 292 requests for cooperation were launched in the AAC-Food Fraud in 2019 between the members of the EU Food Fraud Network and 70 directly from the Commission (156 in 2016, 178 in 2017, 239 in 2018). Requests for assistance and cooperation concern all product categories.
Food Fraud requests created in the AAC system per year
The top 10 product categories in the system in 2019
Type of notified non-compliances in the system in 2019
For more detailed information, please refer to the EU Food Fraud Network - Annual Report 2019.
Since 14 December 2019, the IMSOC Regulation sets the obligation for Member States to report all agri-food fraud suspicions of cross-border nature through the AAC-FF system. It also extends these notifications to all areas of the Official Controls Regulation (e.g. animal health, plant health, animal welfare).
Food Fraud Network Activity Annual Reports
- 2019 - Food Fraud Network
- 2018 - Food Fraud Network
- 2017 - Food Fraud Network
- 2016 - Food Fraud Network
- 2015 - Food Fraud Network
- 2014 - Food Fraud Network