EU organic control in Romania slowly improving
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
The EU Directorate General for Health and Food Safety inspected Romania's eco-control system in April this year. The audit report now published confirms Romania's progress, but still criticises many details.
The report praises Romania's efforts to improve the monitoring of organic inspection posts. Also, communication between control bodies has improved and control is effective in most cases. All these points were criticised in the last EU audit in 2013. The audit also found weaknesses in the investigation of cross-border anomalies. In the case of major infringements of organic standards, the rapid exchange between inspection bodies and authorities does not always work, so that the necessary measures cannot be taken in time. The Ministry of Agriculture also did not report all relevant cases to the EU OFIS database and did not always respond promptly to OFIS notifications from other member states.
In June this year, the competent EU Directorate General inspected a control agency operating in Ukraine. The audit report now published confirms progress made by the inspection body, but accuses it of living a "culture of leniency" with regard to infringements.
Specifically, a case was mentioned in which dried plums from Serbia and Moldova were passed on directly to France by a Romanian trader without sufficient organic certificates. The Romanian trader was suspended four months later and decertified after another three months. Although under Romanian law he would thus be banned from organic trading for five years, he was reintroduced into the organic control system by another inspection body.
The auditors complained that the inspection body took so long to deal with this and other cases and informed the inspection authorities only after the respective cases had been closed. The auditors also had some objections to make to the accompanied inspections - for example that the inspector did not estimate the harvest quantity at any farm.