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Regulation (EU) 2017/625: Official Controls, Life, Responsibilities, and Globalization journal article

Ferdinando Albisinni

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 14 (2019), Issue 2, Page 118 - 131

Regulation (EU) 2017/625 ‘on 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’ introduced many new rules, with reference to the object of regulation, to the operators involved, to the areas of application, taking into account the global dimension of the agri-food market and chain. It seems therefore proper to define this as the Regulation of ‘complexity’ and of ‘globalisation’. The comment analyses the path to the proposal of the new rules, and the relevant innovations in comparison to previous Regulation (CE) No 882/2004, discussing: the unification of rules with reference to official controls; the new definitions of hazard, risk, and operator; the attention given to the cycle of life, including the environment and animals and vegetable not addressed to the food chain. The author underlines that the consequence of the new approach adopted is the emersion of the agri-food chain in its complexity and integrity, and therefore the recognition of an agri-food business operator who is not only a food operator. From another perspective, the new Regulation builds rules on cooperation among UE Authorities and EU and non-EU Authorities much more defined than in the recent past, introduces a centralized rating for the evaluation of the operators, and creates the new computerised information management system for official controls (IMSOC) for the integrated operation of the mechanisms and tools through which data, information and documents concerning official controls and other official activities are managed, handled, and automatically exchanged. IMSOC and centralized rating involve relevant problems on guarantees and remedies (administrative and judicial) for operator evaluated. The author recalls some recent cases confirming the critical relevance of those topics in a globalized market, and concludes underlying that the new EU legislation is facing new challenges. The question is whether legal innovation will be adequate to overcome those challenges.

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