The Veterinary and Food Administration's regions are subject to the following fundamental principles for official control.
Primary producers and establishments bear the responsibility
The responsibility for compliance with the rules lies with the primary producers and the establishments. This includes compliance with requirements determined by EU Executive Orders and any requirements emanating from third countries.
Establishments and primary producers are required to set up own-check programmes based on the HACCP principles. This means that there are only very few areas, such as the inspection of animals for slaughter, in which the authorities themselves approve products or perform internal control for establishments or primary producers.
The control must be preventive
An important element in the control process is the provision of information to establishments and primary producers to ensure that they understand the reasoning behind the regulations and are motivated to follow them.
This principle does not alter the fact that it is the responsibility of the establishments and primary producers themselves to familiarise themselves with the relevant regulations.
Establishments must be authorised
Establishments that process or sell foodstuffs or non-food animal products must be authorised, approved or registered before they sell or produce their products.
Upon authorisation or approval, an assessment of the company is carried out and a number of conditions are laid down, including the obligation to inspect its own products.
Inspection is the cornerstone
Inspection is the cornerstone in the control process with respect to establishments and primary producers.
The starting point for inspection is the establishments' handling and sale of foodstuffs. Analytical control should act as a supplement to such inspection.
Analytical control ought to be a verification of whether the establishment or primary producer can manage the handling of foodstuffs or primary production.
The analytical control should be determined by the inspection authorities. In special areas, plans for specimen selection are worked out centrally. This is the case, for example, with inspection for residues of veterinary medicine and pesticides.
Inspection should be both need-oriented and regular. It should also be dynamic, and should be most intensively applied where the need is greatest. Once a problem has been solved, the inspection effort should be moved elsewhere.
The results of the inspection and the new knowledge acquired from, for example, surveillance and charting studies should be used to keep the control process goal-oriented and to improve regulations.
Seek the source of the problem
Inspection should seek out the source of the problem. The inspection efforts should be concentrated as close as possible to the relevant links from which problems are emanating in the chain from "stable to table".
If problems are discovered in links further down the chain, the responsible party should be contacted with regards to carrying out an inspection of the establishment or primary producer concerned, which is where the problem should be solved.
The control process should avail of whatever sanctions are necessary to ensure that the regulations are observed. On the one hand, the reaction should not be more radical than necessary, while on the other hand, sanctions must have sufficient impact to ensure that the regulations are respected.
If the establishment or primary producer concerned fails to comply with the control authority's sanctions, the sanctions should be escalated.
The effects of inspection must be uniform, both geographically and within the various branches of the food industry. This means, for example, that import and production must be subject to the same requirements, and that regulations must be uniformly enforced throughout the entire country.
Document its own reliability
The inspection process must be able to document its own reliability and effectiveness, and must be made available to the public.
Inspection results must be visible at places where consumers purchase foodstuffs, and on the Internet, so as to make it easier for consumers to evaluate the establishments involved and the official control process.