Primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the EU agri-food related legislation rests with the food (or feed) business operators. Detecting and fighting fraud is the obligation of Member States, notably under the provisions of the Official Controls Regulation. It provides a comprehensive set of tools to tackle fraud and it also gives the Commission a role in coordinating and enforcing the effective application of these measures at EU level.
In this regard, the Commission – at the request of one or more EU countries or on its own initiative – can organise specific targeted activities at EU level. The coordinated action aims to assess the state of and enforce application of EU rules while establishing the prevalence of certain hazards across the Union.
Non-compliances, malpractices and suspected fraudulent practices are then reported to the EU relevant networks by Member States. Implementing such coordinated control plans is without prejudice to the other official controls carried out by Member States in the framework of their national control programmes.
List of control actions launched by the EU Agri-Food Fraud Network and coordinated by the Commission since 2013:
The Commission performs a weekly screening of all ACN notifications reported in iRASFF to identify potential intentional infringements to the EU agri-food chain legislation, which may have remained undetected by Member States and might need an adequate coordination and follow up at European Union level. These cases are brought to the attention of the relevant authorities and transferred for further investigations.
The Commission is also engaged in OPSON, a Europol/Interpol joint initiative targeting trafficking in fake and substandard food and beverages and Europol’s operation Silver Axe, targeting counterfeit and illicit trade of pesticides. The Commission supports the actions of Europol with specific intelligence on the targeted agri-food items and participates in the specific training for participants.
Read further: Cooperation examples