he European Commission has launched a new initiative, "Better Training for Safer Food," aimed at organizing a Community (EU) training strategy in the areas of food law, feed law, animal health and animal welfare rules, as well as plant health rules.
Article 51 of the newly adopted Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules, provides the legal instrument for this initiative.
Training will be designed for all staff of competent authorities of Member States involved in official controls activities so as to keep them up-to-date with all aspects of Community law in the above specified areas and ensure that controls are carried out in a more uniform, objective and adequate manner in all Member States.
It is also essential that third countries and in particular developing countries are familiar with EU import requirements and, where they exist, with the possibility of EU support. For this purpose, training will also be open to participants from those countries.
The future Community training strategy in the areas of food law, feed law, animal health, animal welfare and plant health, will be explained in a Commission White Paper expected to be published in December 2005.
The main objective of the initiative “Better Training for Safer Food” is the organization and development of a Community training strategy, complementary to the action taken by Member States at national level, aimed at ensuring a high level of training of staff of competent authorities of Member States involved in official controls to verify compliance with Community food law, feed law, animal health and animal welfare rules, as well plant health rules.
Third countries, in particular developing countries, will be allowed to participate in Community training activities. In addition, specific training and information sessions could be organized to assist those countries in better understanding Community import requirements.
The EU says this action is fundamental with a view to:
- Ensuring and maintaining a high level of consumer protection and of animal health, animal welfare and plant health
- Promoting a harmonized approach to the operation of Community and national control systems
- Creating an equal level playing field for all food businesses
- Enhancing trade of safe food
- Ensuring fair trade with third countries and in particular developing countries
In developing training activities two main stages are envisaged. An initial stage, during the years 2005-2006, characterized by the organization and implementation of a number of ad hoc training projects and a second stage characterized by the developments of a structured and fully developed training system.
A Prior Information Notice has been published (OJ S 65 of 02/04/2005) for calls for tender related to training activities being developed during the initial stage.