Legislation on official controls

Legislation on official controls

EU official control rules are a key element of the governance of the agri-food chain in Europe, recognised world-wide as an example of best practice.

These rules provide national authorities and the European Commission with the necessary powers to ensure effective enforcement of regulatory requirements and with mechanisms that allow the full cooperation of all parties involved in ensuring the correct application of the law across national borders.

The Official Controls Regulation also provides the European Commission with audit and control powers in the EU countries and non-EU countries, and with the power to take action at EU level.

Official Controls Regulation (EU) 2017/625

The Official Controls Regulation (EU) 2017/625 addresses official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products (Official Controls Regulation - OCR).

The European Parliament and the Council adopted the new Official Controls Regulation No 2017/625 on 15 March 2017. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 7 April 2017 and entered into force on the 27 April 2017

The new rules replace Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls and other legislation which previously governed the control and enforcement of rules along the agri-food chain. The effects of the OCR are:

Repeal of: Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC, 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC

Amend with respect of control rules: Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC.

The new rules gradually became applicable with the main application date being 14 December 2019. An overview on delegated and implementing acts adopted under Regulation (EU) 2017/625 can be found here.

Main Elements of Regulation (EU) 2017/625

The main elements and changes in this regulation are outlined below. 

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Scope

Risk Based Approach

Official Controls on the Operator's Processes and Activities

Transparency of Official Controls – Greater Accountability of Competent Authorities

Delegation of Control Tasks of the Competent Authorities

Operators' Obligations

Official Laboratories

Sampling, Analysis, Tests and Diagnosis

Border Controls

Official Certification

Administrative Assistance and Cooperation

Enforcement actions by the Competent Authorities

Enforcement Measures

Penalties

Sector specific control rules

Relation between Official Controls Regulation and the Animal Health Law & The Plant Health Law

Commission Empowerments: Future-Proof Legislation