The European Commission is planning to conduct 249 food safety audits in 2013, which includes an emphasis on animal health and animal welfare as part of a “farm to fork” approach.
The majority of animal welfare audits cover welfare during transport and the implementation of the Council of Europe requirements for major farmed species. On animal transport, fact-finding missions will identify best practices and focus on certain regional problems (with the aim of achieving real improvements on the ground). Further audits are planned for laying hens and sow stalls.
In 2013, 64 percent of the audits will take place in the European Union. Five percent of audits will take place in candidate countries and 31 percent in other third countries. Taking into account that about one tenth of the audits in the EU deal with Member States' import control systems, overall, controls with respect to third countries' export of feed, food, plants and animals amount to 43 percent of the program.
The Food and Veterinary Office, FVO, also will start a new series on emergency preparedness in 2013 because of lessons learned from the 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany. The FVO will address contingency planning in the animal feed and food chain, coordination and cooperation between different authorities including public health authorities, traceability of animal feed and food, alert systems and recall procedures.