Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System

Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System

The Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System (AAC) is an Information Technology system developed by the European Commission for EU countries to exchange data in a structured manner regarding non-compliances with food and feed legislation. Implementing Decision 2015/1918 details all the rules for the functioning of the administrative assistance and cooperation procedure.

 

Since August 2016, the system is split in two parts:

  • part dedicated to Food Fraud and the Food Fraud Network
  • part dedicated to every request for Administrative Assistance and Cooperation which does not present profiles of human or animal risks, health risks (not under scope of RASFF) and/or suspicion of fraudulent practices.

The AAC system is a means for an EU country to rapidly confirm a suspicion of fraud : they contact the competent authorities in the EU country of origin of the product via the system and prepare a solid file on the case which can lead to either administrative sanctions or judicial proceedings.

Administrative or judicial proceedings - The AAC-FFN is a "good tool" for the most efficient choice:

  • In many food fraud cases, administrative sanctions may be sufficient or more effective. Nonetheless, criminal prosecution can be sought for major files
  • An administrative sanction can often be decided and executed without delay, therefore avoiding lengthy and difficult procedures
  • Administrative proceedings offer a broader range of sanctions: fines, seizure or destruction of products and suspension/withdrawal of EU agreements
  • Overloaded prosecutors/ judicial bodies: food authorities need to present solid dossiers since they are competing with other highly pressing criminal investigations such human trafficking, guns trafficking, murder, terrorism, etc.

Cases per non-compliance in the AAC-FF in 2015, 2016 and 2017

Cases per non-compliance in the AAC-FF in 2015, 2016 and 2017