ECRASFF: The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed – 2018 annual report

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European Commission

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Publications office of the European Union

2019, the year in which this report appears, is an important year for the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) network as it marks the 40th anniversary of the network. 2018, the year that this annual report gives an account of, has been a year of preparing the RASFF to give it a new boost. This boost is the implementation of the Information Management System for Official Control (IMSOC) concept that came with the new Official Controls Regulation (OCR). A first step will be the merging of the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation (AAC) network with the RASFF network.

Following a Ministerial Conference in the wake of the fipronil incident, the Member States and the Commission agreed on 19 specific measures to reinforce the EU’s action against food fraud. In the meantime, the Commission has adopted a Commission Implementing Decision updating the General Plan for crisis management in the field of food and feed safety. The main purpose of this Plan is to protect public health by reinforcing cooperation and communication between the EU and Member States and to ensure a harmonised approach during food incidents or crises. With regard to IT developments for the RASFF and AAC systems, the actions taken are in line with the conclusions from the Ministerial Conference. As a first action, a Single Contact Point (SCP) in the Member States for both systems has been successfully implemented, the concept having been agreed upon in February 2018. In addition, an implementing act that is based on the OCR will soon legally cover the RASFF and AAC integration. In the meantime, the first version of this integrated IT system has been presented to the RASFF and AAC contact points with a positive feedback. It is planned to further extend this integration to the food fraud network although this network will maintain its important characteristic of being able to work as a "closed community".

Unfortunately, fraudulent practices can never be completely ruled out but with the updates to the system since the fipronil incident, there is a better chance of finding problems earlier and dealing with them in an efficient and harmonised manner.

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