On July 11-12, 2019, further discussion on the draft proposal for facilitating trade in fruits and vegetables in support to implementation of the Article 24 of the Additional Protocol 5 took place, during a two-day workshop held in Budva, Montenegro. The workshop was attended by the representatives of food safety and plant health agencies’ representatives and customs administrations of the region. A Proposal prepared by the Project that was discussed aims to move towards a system wide monitoring and control approach to plant protection and food safety rather than strengthening the issuing and cross recognition of certificates and lab tests at the border. This is the approach that is now taken by the European Community through the new Official Control Regulation 2017/625 which will become fully operational in December 2019. The Regulation obliges Member States to develop and implement a Multi-annual control plan (MANCP). The objectives of the National Control Plan would be to ensure feed and food are safe and wholesome and to protect consumers’ interests. The proposal for CEFTA includes 3 elements of plant health, pesticide residues and contaminants in a monitoring program for fruits and vegetables. This seems to be a part of or a forerunner to the full implementation of the MANCP in each CEFTA party. The approach taken is to foster a culture of compliance through the use of risk-based controls without imposing unnecessary burdens on the authorities that are responsible for undertaking official controls or on the food and feed business operators that are subject to these controls. Going forward, the Proposal will be shared and discussed within all respective CEFTA Subcommittees and Committees in 2019.
July 12, 2019