Home → Updates → Legal → Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/466 on temporary measures to contain risks to human, animal and plant health and animal welfare during certain serious disruptions of Member States’ control systems due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/466 on temporary measures to contain risks to human, animal and plant health and animal welfare during certain serious disruptions of Member States’ control systems due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Commencement: 31st March 2020
This EU Regulation introduces temporary measures to help EU Member States comply with regulations for plant and animal health during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Temporary measures are introduced by this Regulation to assist European Union (EU) Member States that are struggling to comply with EU requirements regarding plant and animal health as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These temporary measures can be used by Member States from 31st March 2020 until 1st June 2020.
Two new EU Regulations to protect against animal disease and plant pests were introduced in 2016 and 2017 which Member States had to comply with by 14th December 2019. These are:
- Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products (“Official Controls Regulation”)
- Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against pests of plants (“Plant Health Regulation”)
The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is creating an ongoing challenge for Member States to conduct official controls and other official activities in line with the above EU legislation. In particular, the restrictions on movement of people within EU Member States means they are struggling to fulfil their duties, as their ability to deploy suitable staff for official controls and other activities has been impaired.
As a result the measures below have been introduced.
Member States that wish to utilise these temporary measures should inform the European Commission and other Member States. They must also inform them of the measures they have taken to address their difficulties to carry out the official controls required under Official Controls Regulation and the Plant Health Regulation.
Some activities needed to adhere to the requirements of the Official Controls Regulation or the Plant Health Regulation require the physical presence of control staff, such as for the clinical examination of animals, and certain checks on products of animal origin, plants, plant products, and food and feed of non-animal origin. These roles often have to be carried out by people with particular qualifications who are authorised to conduct these functions.
This Regulation allows the competent authority of each Member State to allow other people, who would not previously have been authorised, to carry out such functions. These people should:
- be authorised by the competent authority on the basis of their qualifications, training and practical experience;
- be in contact with the competent authority by any means of communication;
- be required to follow instructions from the competent authority on how to perform the official controls or activities; and
- act impartially and be free of any conflict of interest regarding the activities they perform.
Electronic copies of certificates or attestations required by either of the Regulations may now be used, or an electronic format of the certificate or attestation can be produced and submitted in TRACES.*
If these are used, then the person responsible for presenting the official certificate or attestation must provide a statement to the competent authority confirming that the original of the official certificate or attestation will be submitted as soon as is feasible.
*TRACES is the Trade Control and Expert System referred to in the Official Control Regulation. It is used to record, trace and manage data and information on animals and products of animal origin.
Analysis, testing, or diagnosis can now be performed by any laboratory that has been temporarily designated by the competent authority, rather than only official laboratories that were allowed previously.
Meeting with operators and staff
Distance communication (e.g. virtual meetings) can be used instead of face-to-face physical meetings to discuss official control measures and techniques referred to in Article 14 of the Official Controls Regulation.
There are no changes to duties for businesses.
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