This project will develop a specification for
- processes capturing the notification and distribution of information from one member of a notification network towards a cluster and other countries
- specifications for data and information exchange messages
The starting point of the project is the European Union Regulation EC/178/2002, which concerns general principles and requirements for food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety. This involves a network of countries, the European Commission (EC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) working together in order to follow issues and incidents related to food safety within the European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA), for food and feed related products coming from any country.
The RASFF network is composed of designated National Contact Points (NCPs) in each participant country as well as EC and EFTA representatives. These contact points can decide if food and feed safety issues discovered in a Member (by inspecting products in the market or at the border) are under the scope of the RASFF system.
As an example, the RASFF notification form is used to communicate details of the findings to the European Commission. The EC in turn performs a number of tasks and checks if it can make the notification available to other members and can as well inform non-Members of RASFF (third countries). Third countries where the product is exported or countries of origin of the product are to be notified so as to be able to take corrective measures when and as needed.
This project involves support for an electronic process for the exchange of RASFF notification information and establishes the specification of what information (in the form of standard messages) is exchanged among and/or within a group of countries. The project builds on the considerable experience with the registration of food safety risks and hazards related information in RASFF. This project will also attempt to establish a taxonomy and practical ways for the classification and usage of this information.
The collaboration between the NCPs and the EC via the RASFF system and the current practices are well established and widely known. The experience with using the current system and communication with third countries indicates that the usage of electronic exchange of the RASFF notification information and connection with existing information systems in RASFF Members can facilitate the exchange in shorter time periods while improving the content quality and decreasing the effort to perform the checks at central levels (Members, EC, or other similar cluster of countries).
The project intends to establish a common specification for the exchange of information between all participants. This exchange will try to leverage practices and experience from the RASFF network (and other similar networks).