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The adoption of Law No. 9863 On Food, enacted in 2008, is to a large extent harmonised with the EU Acquis in the field of food safety. It provides the basis and principles for ensuring the protection of food safety standards and consumer interests as well as the requirements for the production and trading of food and feed. With this law, the National Food Authority (NFA) was established and became operational on 1 September 2010, based on the Decision of Council of Ministers No. 1081 On the Organisation and Functioning of the National Food Authority.
Based on the Food Law, secondary legislation was adopted in line with EU requirements. Current legislation dealing with food safety in Albania is partially aligned with EU provisions, namely the Food Hygiene Package. Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002, part of the EC Regulation No. 882/2004 on official controls, has been harmonised, as have Regulations No. 852/2004, No. 853/2004 and No. 854/2004, which were adopted by means of ordinances from the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration.
The adoption of Law No. 10465 on Veterinary Service in the Republic of Albania in 2011 transferred the responsibilities for animal health and welfare to the veterinary service.
Based on the Law On the Veterinary Service in the Republic of Albania and the Law On the System of Animal Identification and Registration, several secondary legal acts were adopted introducing EU requirements in the veterinary field, such as regulation for the control of diseases in animals, regulation for controlling zoonotic diseases, regulations for the creation and functioning of the animal identification system, regulations for animal welfare, and a regulation on national and international trading conditions for all animals.
Phytosanitary activities are based on Law No. 9362 On the Plant Protection Service, dated 2005, which was amended in 2008 by Law No. 9908. Within the framework of the amended Law On the Plant Protection Service, secondary legislation was adopted in compliance with the EU Directives on plant protection (mainly the two basic directives 2000/29 and 91/414).
There is no separation between risk assessment and risk management, although they are separate departments within NFA.
Risk assessment publications are not published online.
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration
|Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration
The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration (MARDWA) deals with agricultural and food safety policy in Albania. It prepares draft legislation in the field of food and feed safety. The area of work of the MARDWA extends beyond food safety to include plant health, animal health and animal welfare.
Regarding food safety, the MARDWA is responsible for policies, strategies and legislation for food safety and quality of food products. It is involved in risk management and food safety crises management. It formulates policies to control the quality and safety of food products in order to integrate food control as a key function in the protection of consumer health and interests, providing fair competition in the national market, and the introduction of food products in the international market. In addition, the MARDWA is responsible for the fishery sector, including approval of fishery establishments, classification of live bivalve mollusk production areas and monitoring their sampling plans.
Regarding plant protection, the MARDWA is responsible for policies and legislation, implementation of procedures related to the registration of plant protection products, monitoring the plant protection service and representing the international authority in the field of plant protection. The responsible veterinary authority is the Veterinary Directorate within the General Directorate of Agriculture Service. In addition to representing Albania in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), this directorate is responsible for the policies, strategies, legislation and monitoring of the implementation of laws in the area of veterinary service. The regional veterinary services are part of the Regional Agriculture Directories (RADs), which are technically accountable for all their activities to the Veterinary Directorate within the MARDWA. Private veterinarians are contracted by the Regional Agriculture Directories to carry out veterinary-related activities such as vaccination campaigns for national programmes and ear tagging of animals in accordance with the legislation.
Based on the current veterinary and food legislation in Albania, duties and competencies of the MARDWA State Veterinary Services are carried out at the farm level, focusing on the primary production only. Once they leave the farm, the primary products are under the competence of the National Food Authority inspection services.
National Food Authority
|National Food Authority
Pursuant to Law No. 9863 On Food, dated 28 January 2008, as amended, which regulates the food safety system in Albania, the National Food Authority (NFA) is responsible for risk assessments, risk management and risk communication. 13 Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) under the NFA are in charge of the control of plants and plant products, livestock, animal by-products and food of animal and non-animal origin at the borders. The National Food Authority is an integrated part of the programme to create and guarantee a food safety system and consumer protection in the Republic of Albania. It was established by the Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 1081 dated 21 October 2009. NFA is an institution within the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration. As part of its organisational structure, NFA has nine regional laboratories which perform lab analyses for food and feed official controls as well as plant protection to verify compliance with the laws in the country, according to the legislation in effect. These labs are categorized into:
- Food safety lab: physical – chemical
- Microbiology lab
- Animal health and welfare lab
- plant protection lab.
The state of play of the NFA labs is defined in Law No. 9863 On Food, dated 28 January 2008, as amended, wherein their authorisation is granted by the Minister of Agriculture after an evaluation performed by the FSVI reference laboratory.
The remit of the NFA:
- Leads the risk assessment process in the fields of food, feed and plant protection; plans, coordinates and realises official controls of food and feed and plant protection
- Ensures the unification of official control practices for food, feed and plant protection at the national level
- Coordinates authorised laboratory activities with regard to official controls for food, feed and plant protection
- Conducts preliminary controls to verify if the technical, technological, hygiene, sanitation, phytosanitary and veterinary requirements are met and also to verify the necessary documentation for registering and licensing food business operators and plant protection
- Blocks, temporarily or permanently, the activities of food and feed business operators in stages of production, processing, delivery and marketing of food or feed when is proven that the food or feed and the respective business operators do not meet food safety standards as specified in the legislation in effect
- Conducts necessary scientific research on risk assessment in the field of food and feed safety and plant protection
- Provides technical, administrative and scientific support to enable the work of scientific committees and scientific panels
- Informs the public on food and feed safety and plant protection.
Food Safety and Veterinary Institute
|Food Safety and Veterinary Institute
The Food Safety and Veterinary Institute (FSVI) is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration. FSVI is a national reference centre and laboratory that carries out scientific research and application activities in areas of animal health and food quality, foodstuff residues, veterinary products registration and plant protection.
FSVI serves as a reference centre with the following tasks:
- Confirms diagnoses performed in other laboratories
- Standardises methods of analysis
- Uses and disseminates official methods of analysis
- Organises training courses for specialists in other laboratories
- Supplies other laboratories with new regulations and everything related to the field of research
- Collaborates with reference centres of the European Community
- Provides MARDWA with assistance and scientific laboratory information and suggests further measures to be taken in the field for issues that arise regarding the scope of FSVI.
FSVI implements the quality management system based on the ISO 17025:2005 standard and has been approved for six tests by the General Accreditation Directory and by a foreign accreditation body (Accredia – national accreditation in Italy). The Department of Animal Health in the FSVI comprises six sectors: Bacteriology, Virology, Parasitology, Mycology, Veterinary Epidemiology and the Sector for Veterinary Medical Products. The Sector for the Production of Vaccines and Bio-products is also a part of this institute.
Ministry of Health
|Ministry of Health
The mission of the Ministry of Health (MH) is the implementation of health policies of government programmes. The Ministry of Health compiles health policies at the national level and determines the development and planning of health services nationally and regionally. MH is responsible for public health, nutrition and the control of water and specific food products (nutritional purposes).
Public Health Institute
|Public Health Institute
Food safety sector:
- Development and application of plans for the verification of food supply.
Nutritional sector (food):
- Development and application of research plans in food sectors: macronutrients and micronutrients.
- Monitoring of nutrition of population.
The enforcement of the legislation for public health and nutrition is carried out by sanitary inspectors who are responsible for issuing health certificates for workers in the industry, inspections in the working environments and the control of water up to the final consumer. The Public Health Institute (PHI) collects surveillance and laboratory diagnostic data from regional public health structures. The PHI reports the number of cases of infectious disease to the Food Safety and Epidemiology Section at the PHI on a monthly basis. The disease categories relevant to foodborne disease are: non-typhoid salmonellosis, botulism, shigellosis, E. coli enteritis, cholera, brucellosis, infection with hepatitis A virus, giardiasis, amebiasis, food poisoning (unknown aetiology, including food toxic infections), unspecified gastroenteric illness, and outbreaks associated with contaminated food and water.
Regional Directorates of Agriculture
|Regional Directorates of Agriculture
|12 RDAs in 12 regions
Each region has one Regional Directorate of Agriculture (RDA). RDAs are involved in the enforcement of legislation under the competence of MARDWA at the field level. In addition, plant protection specialists within RDAs are responsible for advising, informing and educating farmers on plant protection issues.