Croatia set for food agency

Related tags Food safety European union

Croatia is about to get its own food agency, which will work
alongside the EFSA to bring the former Yugoslavian state in line
with EU food safety regulations ahead of its likely application to
join the Union.

The Croatian Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry said it expected the agency to be up and running within the next six weeks, although final logistics and objectives are still to be formerly outlined.

"We have still to appoint a management board, so as yet we are not certain of either the management structure or the exact way in which the agency will be administered,"​ said Bozica Rukavina, head of food policy at the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry.

"The establishment of the agency has come about due to the imminent expansion of the European Union. We have worked closely with the EFSA in order to comply with all the necessary food safety regulations which the agro-food sector in acesssion countries has to comply with after 1 May.

Once it is up and running the agency will co-ordinate all aspects of management in relation to national food safety and hygiene, a job that up until now has fallen on a number of ministry departments."

The agency's main objectives will be to cover all aspects of risk management within the food and beverage sectors, ensuring that all businesses are compliant with EU approved food safety laws that came into force in 2002. The aim is to build a strong means of communication which will draw attention to all aspects of hygiene and safety.

"The agency will play a vital role in implementing a rapid alert system for all aspects of food and feed safety,"​ said Rukavina. "Following on from the structure put in place by the EFSA it will collate all information concerning and put into place the means of communication to warn if any products are not compliant with regulations. Once the regulations are contravened we will have a means of warning all concerned parties on a national level and will be able to give advice on cautionary procedures."

The most public form of communications will take the form of an agency website, by which means hygiene and safety warnings will be made public.

Although Slovenia - which is the only former Yugoslavian nation set to join the EU on 1 May - has also set about the framework to establish a similar body within its agricultural ministry, Croatia is thought to be the first in the region to establish a free standing food agency along the lines of the UK Food Standards Agency.

Related topics Policy Food Safety & Quality

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