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Training of inspectors on the control of facilities handling products of animal origin intended for export to the EU

The assignment was carried out as part of ORGUT’s subcontract with Chemonics International within the USAID/Sida project –FARMA in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The purpose of USAID/Sida FARMA is to provide technical assistance in agricultural sub-sectors through demand driven assistance aimed at improved competitiveness of agricultural products. USAID/Sida FARMA is a development project jointly funded by USAID and Sida and implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. USAID/Sida FARMA is to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing, and sales of value-added agricultural products. The expected result of FARMA is contribution to poverty reduction. USAID/Sida FARMA is implemented by Chemonics International with ORGUT as a subcontractor. ORGUT provides consulting services aiming at increasing agricultural competitiveness, meeting EU accession standards, reducing poverty by expanding environmentally sustainable production, and increasing sales, exports, and employment. USAID/Sida FARMA’s approach focuses on four integrated components: Building sustainable market linkages for producers; Increasing access to finance; Building the capacity of producer organisations and other counterparts; and Enhancing the policy environment to benefit competitiveness of agricultural goods. In order to attain project goals, USAID/ Sida FARMA uses various tools, including a Development Fund and Partners Fund for targeted subcontracts to local partners.

The State Veterinary Office of BiH (SVO) is a central organisation with responsibilities over animal origin food issues. It is responsible to enable export of these types of foods and implementation of EU standards related to the production of these products. For the past few years, SVO had been developing and implementing the annual National Residue Monitoring Plan in products of animal origin. The recognition of the plan by the EU represents the basis for continuing implementation of other EU regulatory requirements.

Council of Ministers of BiH, on their 25th session held on 29 October 2012, adopted two rulebooks from the so called “EU Hygiene Package” which were developed by the SVO: Rulebook on hygiene of the food of animal origin and Rulebook on the organization of the official controls of products of animal origin intended for human consumption. These were published in the “Official Gazette BiH 103/12 and incorporate Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin i Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organization of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption into the local legislation.

Additionally, Council of Ministers adopted two additional rulebooks, developed by the BiH Food Safety Agency (FSA): Rulebook on hygiene of food and the Rulebook on official controls for the purpose of verification of compliance with regulations on food, animal feed and regulations on animal health and welfare, which were subsequently published in the “Official Gazette BiH” No. 4/13 and 5/13. Hence, Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs i Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules were incorporated into local regulation.

To ensure complete harmonisation of local hygienic norms in food production with the EU regulations, Council of Ministers, on their 31 session held on 11. December 2012, approved the recommendation of the FSA and adopted the Rulebook on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs (“Official Gazette BiH” 11/13), in compliance with Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs. In the meantime, SVO adopted the Rulebook on method for authorization of facilities engaged in live animal rearing, production, processing and storing of animal origin products intended for export to EU market, (“Official Gazette BiH” 102/12), thus implementing a recommendation received from the Food and veterinary office EU (FVO), during their last inspection conducted in February 2012. The goal of the implementation of the aforementioned rulebooks and sets of regulation pertaining to animal health is an application of EU standards in local production, thus enabling BiH producers to export goods of animal origin.

Implementation of the above mentioned legislation is the responsibility of BiH authorities, primarily of the inspection services in BiH. The ultimate goal is the recognition of the food control system in BiH by the EU. During transitional period within which the implementation of the so-called EU Hygiene Package is mandated, comprehensive training of veterinary inspectors must be conducted so that they know all the requirements of the EU legislation in this area due to significant differences of the EU and previously effective local regulation. The success of the implementation will largely depend on proper understanding of provisions of the new legislation. For example, in the old BiH regulatory system in this area, inspectors and manufacturers shared responsibility for product safety. Under new regulatory regime, this responsibility rests solely with producer. Hence, the authorities will find a risk-based organization of control enforcement to be particularly difficult.

In this assignment, ORGUT built capacity of veterinary inspectors in the implementation of the new regulation which introduces the EU Hygiene Package in BiH.

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