A simplified legal framework to harmonise official food controls

"The high level of food safety that we are aiming for in the Grand Duchy requires a harmonised and simplified legal framework", said Claude Haagen at the end of the Council of Government meeting on 27 January 2023. The latter has just approved to the draft law on official food controls and on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. The new bill will replace the law of 28 July 2018, which serves as the current legal framework for food controls.

Uniform official controls for the benefit of consumers and operators

The project aims to harmonise the areas of competence of the Luxembourg Food and Veterinary Administration (ALVA). Created in October 2022, ALVA now groups most of the official controls related to the food chain under the authority of Minister Haagen.

Before the reorganisation, these controls were carried out by different administrations (Veterinary Administration; Administration of Technical Agricultural Services; Health Directorate; Government Commissioner for Quality, Fraud and Food Safety), under three ministries (Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development; Ministry of Health; Ministry for Consumer Protection).

In practice, the aim is to standardise the coercive means of all enforcement officers according to the working logic of the single administration. The draft thus proposes to introduce administrative measures, penalty regimes for irregular actors and taxed warnings alongside the current criminal sanctions.

The benefits are threefold: agents will be better equipped to carry out control missions and follow up on infringements; operators in the food chain will be provided with a catalogue of progressive sanctions and consumers will continue to benefit from food safety controls at all levels of the chain (national production, import, export).

Legal simplification and implementation of Regulation (EU) n° 2017/625

The bill also transposes Regulation (EU) n° 2017/625 on official controls into national law. It thus brings the integrated system of official controls to which ALVA uses in a wide range of sectors into line with European regulations.

Finally, the text aims to improve and streamline the existing legal base through a major legislative clean-up. For the period 2021/2022, 320 grand-ducal regulations, ministerial regulations and ministerial orders were analysed, of which 124 have already been repealed, and others will follow. While in the first instance this simplification focuses on the area of food and food contact materials and articles, other aspects related to food safety issues will follow.

Press release by the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development

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