The organization and implementation of food monitoring in the German Federal States has been subject to criticism for quite some time. Despite some reforms in various Federal States, consumers continue to be exposed to food scandals. In many places, the legally prescribed inspection frequencies are not adhered to. Cities and municipalities admit that the food monitoring authorities are inadequately staffed.
Against this background, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) commissioned ConPolicy to conduct an expert report on "Good Practices in Official Food Monitoring". The results of the report are to serve as a scientific basis for the position finding of vzbv and consumer centers with regard to official food monitoring in Germany.
Specifically, ConPolicy examined official food monitoring with regard to aspects of authority organization, staffing and consumer information on monitoring results. The project involved expert interviews and literature analysis.
The report comes to the following recommendations for the further development of German food monitoring:
- The monitoring of supra-regional as well as of particularly risky food businesses should be removed from the responsibility of the municipalities and transferred to central food control authorities at State level.
- To ensure adequate staffing of the monitoring authorities, the Federal States should develop uniform guidelines for determining staffing requirements; staffing should be decoupled from the financial situation of the municipalities, and the attractiveness of the food control profession should be increased.
- A smiley system based on the Danish model should be introduced to inform consumers about the results of food inspection.