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The Law on Food Safety (Official Gazette of Montenegro 57/15) governs the conditions for food and feed safety, duties and responsibilities of food and feed business operators, including traditional products, as well as other issues of relevance for food and feed safety, in order to ensure the protection of human life and health, the environment, consumers and efficient market functioning. Competent authorities for state administration activities in the food and feed safety area are the state administrative authority in charge of food safety, agriculture and veterinary issues (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management – MAFWM) and the administrative authority in charge of food safety (Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs – AFSVPA).
Risk assessments are based on the available scientific evidence and conducted in an independent, objective and transparent manner. Risk assessments may be carried out by scientific research institutions in the area of food safety, complying with the requirements in terms of qualified staff and authorised by the MAFWM. In the case that no scientific research institutions meet the requirements, the MAFWM may authorise a specialised institution of a European Union Member State to assess food and feed risks.
Risk management is carried out to ensure that the preventive measures, supervision and official controls undertaken in order to reduce, eliminate and avoid risk to human and animal health caused by the ingestion of food are based on risk assessment results and other factors relevant to risk elimination, and that they are unbiased, efficient and appropriate. Risk management is carried out by the AFSVPA through surveillance, official controls and preventive measures. In the course of risk management, results of risk assessments and/or scientific opinions prepared by scientific research institutions authorised by the Ministry and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other safety-relevant factors are taken into account.
In the case of a threat where a food or feed may pose a risk to human or animal health, the MAFWM shall, without delay, through print or electronic media, inform the general public about the type of food and feed, the risk it may pose, as well as the measures undertaken or that are to be undertaken to prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk.
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management
|Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (MAFWM) performs tasks related to the following: agricultural and rural development policies; protection, utilization and promotion of agricultural land; plant production; animal husbandry; organic production; phytosanitary matters; veterinary and food and feed safety policy; beekeeping; freshwater and marine fisheries and mariculture; forestry development policy; hunting; water management; international cooperation; preparation of regulations in the areas for which the Ministry was established; administrative and inspection supervision.
The MAFWM proposes food and feed safety policy, adopts regulations for the enforcement of the Law on Food Safety, implements annual monitoring programmes (residues in food of animal origin and feed, pesticide residues in food, zoonoses, microbiological criteria in food, contaminants in food and feed and other programmes), organises the implementation of official controls, adopts a multi-annual official control plan for food and feed, submits annual reports on food and feed safety to the Government of Montenegro and the European Commission, cooperates with international organisations and competent authorities of other states in the field of food and feed safety, and performs other activities in accordance with this Law.
Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs
|Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs
Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs (AFSVPA) is a single state authority under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. Three departments operate within the administration:
- Food Safety Department (FSD) – performs duties within the competence of the AFSVPA established by the laws on food and feed safety, organises and implements official controls and inspections.
- Veterinary Department (VD) – performs duties within the competence of the AFSVPA established by the laws on veterinary medicine, identification and registration of animals, protection of the welfare of animals, veterinary medicinal products and products of animal origin, and organises and conducts official controls and inspections.
- Phytosanitary Department (PD) – performs duties within the competence of the AFSVPA established by the laws on plant health protection, plant protection products, plant nutrition products, opioid drugs, seed material of agricultural plants, planting material, GMOs, plant variety protection, and plant genetic resources, and conducts official controls and inspections.
The AFSVPA establishes the compliance with the requirements and issues approvals for conducting business operations in establishments for the production, processing and distribution of food and feed, registers food and feed establishments, sets up and maintains the Central Register of Approved Establishments conducting food and feed business operations, prepares and implements the multi-annual official control plan for food and feed, prepares annual reports on implementation of the multi-annual official controls, prepares the technical basis for adoption of legislation for the enforcement of this law, monitoring programmes, and contingency plans in the area of food and feed safety, cooperates with the European Commission, and performs other technical and administrative tasks in accordance with the law.
The analysis of samples taken in the course of official controls and monitoring of food and feed and food contact materials is conducted by official laboratories authorised by the Ministry. The authorisation may be granted to a laboratory that operates as a legal entity and is accredited pursuant to ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17011 for methods for which the laboratory can prove that it regularly and successfully participates in interlaboratory testing programmes. In the case that Montenegro does not have official laboratories to perform specific analyses, the Ministry shall designate an accredited laboratory of a Member State of the European Union.
For specific types of food and specific analyses of food and feed, the Ministry shall designate one laboratory as the National Reference Laboratory for such testing purposes. One laboratory may be designated as a reference laboratory for several types of testing. In the case that Montenegro does not have the laboratory for a specific area which complies with the requirements laid down by this law, the Ministry may designate a reference laboratory of the Member State of the European Union or of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Laboratories and Faculties
There are three public laboratories in Montenegro: the Institute for Public Health (IPH), the Centre for Ecotoxicological Research (CETI), and the Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (DVL).
The IPH conducts analyses of food, materials and items coming into contact with food: microbiological, parasitological, chemical, biological, toxicological, biochemical and other laboratory analyses, analyses of drinking water, surface and wastewater, etc.
The CETI is an institution authorised for the control and safety of food and objects in general use as of 1998, for the control of agricultural and food products in foreign trade as of 1999, as well as for the examination of physico-chemical properties of pesticides.
The Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory has accredited a larger number of methods in the following fields: microbiological analyses of food of animal origin: meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, eggs and egg products; parasitological testing of meat and meat products.
The University of Montenegro Biotechnical Faculty (BTF) is a higher education institution that performs scientific research in the field of agriculture. The Biotechnical Faculty accomplishes its mission by improving education and human resources development programmes, modernising technical capacities, and enhancing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research by increasing participation in international programmes in the field of agriculture. The BTF is responsible for plant health control programmes.
The Faculty for Food Technology, Food Safety and Ecology (FFTFSE) was established in 2012 and offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four areas: food technology, sanitary engineering, HoReCa system engineering, and environmental engineering. The FFTFSE conducts research in areas related to the science of food and nutrition, biotechnology and ecology, in order to improve the theoretical knowledge and research methodologies, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research.
Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary inspections are a part of the AFSVPA. Official controls for the implementation of the Law on Food Safety are carried out by food inspectors, official border veterinarians, and border phytosanitary inspectors.
According to the Veterinary Law, veterinary inspectors are responsible for the control of trade of live animals, products of animal origin in the territory of Montenegro, checks at the places of dispatch or final destination of consignment, and in quarantine facilities.
Currently, border veterinary control in Montenegro is carried out at 10 veterinary Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) (8 at land borders, one in the Port of Bar and one at the airport in Podgorica).
Official controls concerning the placing on the market of food and feed are carried out by food inspectors as well as veterinary and phytosanitary border inspectors, while the control of animal by-products is the responsibility of veterinary inspectors.
Official controls with regard to the implementation of laws in the phytosanitary segment are undertaken by phytosanitary inspectors.