Audit finds gaps in Icelandic control system

Iceland has been advised to strengthen official controls on meals of non-animal origin by a unit of the European Free Commerce Affiliation (EFTA).

An audit in March discovered it was not assured that consignments of merchandise are recognized and introduced for official controls. This implies non-compliant feed and meals of non-animal origin getting into Iceland from different international locations may very well be positioned in the marketplace.

Iceland does have a framework for official controls and, if merchandise are introduced, then documentation, identification and bodily checks are carried out in keeping with the necessities.

The audit coated merchandise of non-animal origin (PNAO) equivalent to berries, nuts, teas and vegetable spreads and 10 recommendations were made.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) audits Iceland to confirm that official management techniques monitoring the security of meals and feed, animal well being and welfare are in compliance with European Financial Space (EEA) requirements.

Maintaining with EU rule adjustments
The audit discovered a delay in altering Icelandic legal guidelines to mirror amended EU guidelines, which units the frequency of checks on sure merchandise from some international locations and are modified each six months.

Iceland just isn’t an EU member state so guidelines don’t apply from the identical date. Officers stated they had been dedicated to implementing EU rule adjustments as rapidly as attainable however translation typically precipitated delays.

In some instances, the Icelandic Meals and Veterinary Authority (MAST) approved launch of consignments earlier than laboratory outcomes had been accessible. This will increase the chance that unsafe meals will likely be put in the marketplace, stated auditors.

The audit group famous twice that for PNAO getting into Iceland from non-EEA international locations topic to elevated official controls, samples had been taken for aflatoxins, however they had been cleared earlier than lab outcomes had been accessible. MAST stated on one event it had knowledgeable the operator to not place the product in the marketplace till outcomes had been accessible.

Cooperation between MAST and Iceland Income and Customs didn’t make sure the required controls had been carried out on consignments, as a big a part of shipments topic to stricter official controls or emergency measures had not been notified and checked.

MAST had requested the customs company replace its database on managed items as a result of adjustments in EU regulation solely twice though the laws was amended 5 instances up to now two years.

U.S. peanut butter instance
A number of consignments of meals of non-animal origin topic to official controls had been discovered to have entered Iceland since 2019 with out being pre-notified within the Commerce Management and Knowledgeable System New Know-how (TRACES NT) system as required.

Icelandic officers stated prior notifications had improved and letters can be despatched to importers to tell them of pre-notification guidelines.

One product had been imported eight months earlier than and was listed on a customs declaration as requiring elevated official controls. This had not been recognized by MAST so no comply with up motion had been taken.

Based mostly on an interview with an operator, peanut butter they imported from the US topic to import checks was not managed in 2020 and 2021. The operator was not conscious of the requirement to inform in TRACES the import of this product however that they had been utilizing TRACES NT for merchandise of animal origin.

Since January 2022, MAST has made preparations to make sure presentation of related consignments for checks. Due to the timing and significance of the adjustments, the audit group couldn’t set up whether or not the system would work in the long run.

The laboratory that analyzes samples of merchandise topic to official controls sends them overseas to a personal lab for pesticide and mycotoxin evaluation. This website was not designated as an official laboratory to hold out such analyses, exams and diagnoses. These shortcomings might compromise reliability of the evaluation and stop authorities from taking motion in a well timed method, stated auditors.

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