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Federal control plan

The Federal control plan is a coordinated plan of the Federal states of Germany to accomplish the official controls on the compliance with the food, tobacco and wine law. It is set up annually and can consist of both product and establishment controls.

The Federal control plan is - unlike the food monitoring - a risk based control program. I. e. the choice of products and establishments is based on a risk assessment.

The following types of products are integrated in the Federal control plan:

  • foodstuffs,
  • cosmetics and
  • commodities.

The analyses may cover the following aspects:

  • chemical parameters,
  • microbiological parameters,
  • use of specific technologies or
  • control of labelling aspects.

Aims of the Federal control plan

The intention of the Federal control plan is to get information on nationwide compliance with the food, tobacco and wine law including the protection against fraud. Particularly following introduction of new legal requirements (e. g. new maximum residue limits or changed labelling standards), a nationwide evaluation of the degree of compliance with the legal stipulations is of interest. Furthermore, questions concerning up-to-date problems or the need for interim maximum residue limits are evaluated within the Federal control plan. The products to be analysed and the establishments to be controlled as part of the Federal control plan are always chosen in a risk based approach.

Legal basis and number of samples

The overall number of samples to be taken during the official controls by the Federal states is specified in § 9 of the general administrative provision on the framework of control ("Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift Rahmen-Überwachung") to 5 samples per 1,000 inhabitants for foodstuff and 0.5 samples per 1,000 inhabitants for tobacco, cosmetics and commodities per year. A certain proportion of the total number of samples (0.15 – 0.45 samples per 1,000 habitants and year) is to be drawn in co-ordinated programs. Based on a population of 82 million ratio stands for 12,000 – 37,000 samples per year.

Most of these co-ordinatedly drawn samples are analysed as part of the Federal control plan in about 30 programs each year. Further coordinated samples are drawn within the food monitoring and coordinated programs of the European Union.

Implementation of the Federal control plan

The Federal control plan was implemented for the first time as a pilot project in 2005. Since 2006 it is carried out regularly. The programs included in the annual plan are selected by a group of experts. In the plan the kind of products to be analysed, the type of establishments to be controlled as well as the distribution of the controls between the Federal states are laid down. The plan enters into force each year on the 1st of January. Additional programs may be added on request. Proposals for new programs may be submitted by the Federal states, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the BVL. The Federal states together with the BVL decide yearly which programs will be carried out during the following year. Due to the regional differences between the Federal states each state decides on its own in which program it will participate with how many samples. A programis selected if at least two Federal States are willing to take part. Based on the information elaborated by the stakeholders who propose a program the BVL releases detailed recommendations on performance and data transfer of the respective programs.

What are the findings of the Federal control plan used for?

The data collected by the Federal states are compiled and evaluated at BVL in cooperation with the program applicants and the Federal states. The results are published in the annual report on food safety (“Bericht zur Lebensmittelsicherheit”) and are used as a basis for different risk management measures of the competent authorities.

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© 2018 Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety