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Cyprus

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Last updated on 21 February 2024.

drawio: Cyprus


* Host institution of the national EFSA Focal Point. For information on the EFSA Focal Point network, please see the EFSA website.

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In Cyprus, there is no permanently established coordinating body in the form of a food safety authority; instead a council called the ‘Food Safety Council’ (FSC) was formed under the Ministry of Health. Its members include representatives of all relevant competent authorities (Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) etc.).

For the Public Health Services of the Medical and Public Health Services (PHS of MPHS) within the MOH, which are responsible for controlling the safety of food of non-animal origin at all stages with the exception of the primary production stage, honey, ice cream, and for all food at the retail level except for fresh meat sold at butcher shops, the central legal founding legislation is the Food (Control and Sale) Law, which sets out the definitions, powers and responsibilities of authorities, the main responsibilities of FBOs, and transposes EU food safety legislation in the national context and sets penalties. Violations of this law can be either filed in court through the attorney general or the head of the Public Health Services (PHS) can impose administrative penalties. Competent authority measures are based on EU legislation and the available limits. Occasionally, risk management in the case of an absence of limits or for the escalation of measures requires a risk assessment or risk evaluation. The State General Laboratory (SGL) of the MOH is the official food control laboratory and conducts risk assessment of contaminants and other toxic chemicals in close collaboration with the FSC.

As regards Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002, MOA, through its two subordinate institutions, the Veterinary Services (VS) and the Department of Agriculture (DOA), are responsible for the control of food of animal origin at all stages of production and marketing, feed safety, and microbial controls for food of non animal origin at the primary production stage. In addition, MOA’s remit includes the responsibility for animal health and welfare as well for the control, monitoring and eradication of animal contagious diseases, plant health and authorisation and use of plant protection products.


Ministry of Health, Food Safety Council (FSC)

Name Ministry of Health, Food Safety Council (FSC)
Acronym MOH
Responsibilities                    
Location Nicosia
URL https://www.moh.gov.cy/moh/moh.nsf/index_en/index

In 2003, the FSC of Cyprus was established by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Its members are representatives of all relevant competent authorities (MOH, MOA, etc.) and stakeholders, including municipalities and consumers.

Public Health Services of the Department of Medical and Public Health Services

Name Public Health Services of the Department of Medical and Public Health Services
Acronym PHS of MPHS
Activities
  • Risk management
  • Risk communication
  • RASFF contact point
Responsibilities                    
Location Nicosia
URL https://www.moh.gov.cy/moh/mphs/phs.nsf/DMLindex_en/DMLindex_en?opendocument

The Public Health Services unit of the Department of Medical and Public Health Services within the Ministry of Health (PHS of MPHS) is responsible for controlling the safety at all stages of food of non animal origin, honey, ice cream, and for all food at the retail level except for fresh meat sold at butcher shops, and is also responsible for risk management and risk evaluation where this is possible. Its portfolio for the above-mentioned products includes food establishment inspections, food product controls (samplings, complaint investigation), import controls, labelling controls, food fraud and food quality controls. Moreover, PHS of MPHS is also responsible for controls related to drinking water.

The head of PHS is also the RASFF national contact point.

State General Laboratory

Name State General Laboratory
Acronym SGL
Activities
  • Risk assessment
  • EFSA Focal Point
Responsibilities                    
Location Nicosia
URL http://www.moh.gov.cy/sgl

The State General Laboratory (SGL) carries out regular official controls and surveillance on foodstuffs, covering all sections of the food production chain, "from the field or farm to the consumer’s table". For this purpose, it implements various national control programmes with the cooperation of the competent authorities. Controls are of a preventive nature and focus mainly on basic foods that are consumed frequently or may give rise to a specific problem as well as on foodstuffs expected to be consumed by vulnerable groups of the population, such as children and pregnant women. The SGL goes one step beyond analysis. It evaluates the degree of exposure to toxic substances and to related risks, therefore providing scientifically sound advice to the FSC and to competent authorities for risk management through appropriate measures. The SGL of the MOH is the national EFSA Advisory Forum member and the EFSA Focal Point.

The SGL is accredited under ISO 17025 by the Cyprus Accreditation Body (CYS-CYS AB) and six National Reference Laboratories are attached to the SGL pursuant to Regulation (EU) No. 2017/625.

Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment

Name Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment
Acronym MOA
Activities
  • Agriculture policy (veterinary and plant health matters)
  • Rural development policy
  • Environmental policy
  • Codex Alimentarius Contact Point
Responsibilities            
Location Nicosia
URL http://moa.gov.cy/?lang=en

The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (MOA) aims at promoting sustainable development for agriculture and fishing, while contributing to environmental protection and sustainable management of both the environment and Cyprus’ natural resources through projects, initiatives and actions.

The Ministry consists of ten departments and services.

Its subordinate institutions are the regulatory bodies for the food and feed chain controls listed above. Their remit also includes risk assessments, risk management and risk communication.

The implementation of European and national legislation and the implementation of controls fall under the authorities and responsibilities of its subordinate institutions.

Veterinary Services

Name Veterinary Services
Acronym VS
Activities
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Risk communication
  • Multi-annual control plan coordination
Responsibilities      
Location Nicosia
URL http://www.moa.gov.cy/moa/vs/vs.nsf/index_en/index_en?OpenDocument

Veterinary Services (VS) are responsible for animal health and welfare and for public health protection by controlling food of animal origin by registering and approving the food-producing and processing facilities. VS are also responsible for monitoring the registration and usage of medicinal products for animal use.

VS design programmes for the control, monitoring and eradication of animal diseases as well as animal welfare in food and non-food producing animals.

Additionally, VS are responsible for implementing public health protection by controlling food of animal origin. Its remit comprises the whole production chain of food of animal origin and control from the primary production to placing the products on the market, except for honey and ice cream. With regard to fresh meat, VS is responsible for the controls at the market as well.

VS also carry out controls on food of animal origin that is imported from third countries. The controls are carried out at the Border Control Posts (BCPs).

VS design annual programmes for the controls, inspections, audits, monitoring and sampling of the products of food of animal origin of the registered and approved establishments that are under their competencies.

The samples collected within the scope of the above-mentioned programmes, are analysed by its accredited laboratories, which are the National Reference Laboratories.

VS have the Animal Health Laboratories (AHL) and the Laboratories for the Control of Food of Animal Origin (LCFAO). All the laboratories are accredited under ISO: 17025 by the Cyprus Organisation of Standardisation (CYS).

Department of Agriculture

Name Department of Agriculture
Acronym DOA
Activities
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Risk communication
  • Europhyt contact point
  • TRACES contact point for plants and plant products as regards plant health and quality labelling
Responsibilities      
Location Nicosia
URL https://www.moa.gov.cy/moa/da/da.nsf/home_en/home_en?openform

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) deals with agricultural policy and food and feed safety in Cyprus. It prepares national legislation in the field of food of non-animal origin at the primary production stage, feed, plant health, marketing of seeds and plant propagating material, marketing standards for fruits and vegetables, eggs, poultry, meat, quality labelling and quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. It is also responsible for the authorisation of plant protection products and the marketing and use of plant protection products.

It also shares responsibility for the cross-compliance legislation, including the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agriculture sources.

The DOA is also in charge of the preparation of multi-annual national control programmes, which are based on risk analyses. In addition, it is responsible for implementing the annual national control programmes and their monitoring. It provides guidelines to inspectors as well as training as appropriate.

It is also a decision-making body and responsible for risk communication for the areas that fall within its purview.

The DOA has authorised six BCPs for the import of plants and plant products.

The DOA consists of regional offices and the following five laboratories that deal with controls related to food and feed safety and quality:

  1. Pesticide Residues Laboratory is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Pesticides Residues in Feed and the official laboratory for the analysis of pesticide residues in conventional agricultural products on the farmer level, for the control of good agriculture practices, as well as for any use of non-authorised plant protection products in accordance with the Plant Protection Products Law. The laboratory has been accredited in accordance with ISO 17025 since 2011.
  2. Pesticide Formulations Laboratory is the official laboratory for the quality control of pesticide formulations in accordance with the Plant Protection Products Law. Although the lab is not accredited, it implements the same QA system as the accredited laboratories of the DOA.
  3. Animal Feedstuffs and Fertilizers Quality Control Laboratory is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for all official controls in the area of feed and feed additives as well as fertilisers pursuant to the relevant legislation. The laboratory has been accredited in accordance with ISO 17025 since 2011.
  4. Oenology Laboratory conducts chemical analyses of several vine and wine products within the scope of experimentation and market monitoring. The laboratory has been accredited in accordance with ISO 17025 since 2009.
  5. Plant Protection Laboratory deals with the official testing for the diagnosis of harmful organisms (bacteria, fungi, nematodes, viruses and insects) for plants and plant products.

Regional and local levels

Within the framework of PHS of MPHS, for the implementation of controls in the field, five district offices have been established in the respective administrative districts. In addition, nine municipalities have their own control competencies in the field of food hygiene in certain types of establishments within their boundaries. The activities of both the district offices and the municipalities are monitored by PHS and audited by an internal audit team that is independent of PHS of MPHS.

The Republic of Cyprus has six administrative districts. The regional and local levels are subordinate to the central state of VS and DOA in a direct chain of instruction and are mainly responsible for the implementation of European and national legislation by conducting relevant controls such as audits, inspections and sampling.

Article 36 institutions

Institutions involved in the EFSA network pursuant to Article 36 Reg. (EC) No. 178/2002