The competent authority is the Department of Health Affairs. It must satisfy operational criteria ensuring its effectiveness and impartiality. It must also have the necessary equipment and suitably qualified staff (areas specified in annex) and have contingency plans.
The Department of Health Affairs may delegate certain control tasks to non-governmental bodies provided these bodies meet the strictly defined conditions set out in this draft. Hence a procedure is therefore provided to define the tasks that can (or cannot) be delegated to such bodies. The adoption of coercive measures may not be delegated. The Department of Health Affairs may proceed to audit or inspect the bodies to which the tasks have been delegated.
Transparency and confidentiality
The Department of Health Affairs must ensure that relevant information they hold is made available to the public, notably when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that food or feed may present a risk for human or animal health.
The staff of the Department of Health Affairs are required not to disclose information acquired when carrying out their control duties which by its nature is covered by professional secrecy.
Sampling and analysis
The methods of sampling and analysis used within the context of official controls must be fully validated in accordance with internationally accepted protocols. These analysis methods must be implemented by laboratories approved to this end in compliance with the standards laid down by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) for example.
Where non-compliance is ascertained during official controls, the Department of Health Affairs takes appropriate measures taking into account the nature of the non-compliance and that operator's past record with regard to non-compliance. This may involve administrative measures (withdrawal from the market or destruction of a product, closure of a business or suspension of an establishment's approved status, etc.) or penalties. These penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.