On food quality in Ostrava

Thursday, 26 November 2015 r.

Yesterday, the Undersecretary of State, Ewa Lech, participated in the Czech-Polish seminar on control inspections in the field of food safety and quality, which was held in Ostrava (Czech Republic).

Undersecretary of State, Ewa Lech at the seminar

Undersecretary of State, Ewa Lech at the seminar

The meeting was attended, on the part of Poland, by the Deputies: Chief Veterinary Officer, Chief Agricultural and Food Quality Inspector, Plant Health and Seed Inspection Main Inspector, and on the part of the Czech Republic, by the high-level representatives of all food chain control inspections chaired by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Czech Republic, Viera Šediva, responsible for the food production issues.

The rationale for the meeting was the bilateral willingness to strengthen and improve cooperation of the control services of both countries. It is related to the problems which have occurred from mid-2012 in the bilateral relations due to the fact that the Czech media called the quality of Polish food products into question.

The objective of the seminar was to discuss the most important issues in the field of food safety and quality as well as to identify jointly the questionable issues, including those regarding the methodology of controlling agri-food products by the Polish and Czech inspections. In addition, they discussed the issues related to preventing food adulteration, control of food of animal origin, certification of shipments of livestock, as well as the current epidemiological situation in relation to African swine fever, rabies and bovine leucosis.

Both parties declared their will to further strengthen contacts, with the aim of the more effective fight of both administrations against abuse in the food chain and increasing the level of consumer protection. One of the forms of cooperation of the Polish and Czech control inspections could be, in the nearest future, the project of cross-border cooperation of the Polish and Czech inspections under the INTERREG initiative, which would allow to establish direct contacts and to exchange experiences and expertise between the competent field units from the border regions of Poland and the Czech Republic. The decisions in this regard will be developed after analysing the needs and capacities of both parties.

For many years, the Czech Republic has been one of the most important trading partners of Poland when it comes to trade in agri-food products, occupying the fourth position among the countries to which Poland exports its agri-food products. Also, Poland is the second, after the Federal Republic of Germany, largest supplier of agri-food products to the Czech market. According to the available statistical data for the period of 9 months of 2015, the Polish agri-food export to the Czech Republic amounted to EUR 1,179,600 thousand which means an increase by 18% in relation to the same period of 2014, while the Polish import from the Czech Republic amounted to EUR 352,000 thousand which accounts for an increase of 8% in relation to the same period of 2014.