the Ministry of Agriculture takes the lead of a “single police”

The Prime Minister’s office has approved the creation of a single police force in charge of food safety, bringing together the staff of Bercy and those of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Ministry of Agriculture will take the lead from next year of “a single police force” in charge of food safety controls, by recovering agents from the Fraud Repression Directorate (DGCCRF), announced the latter. Thursday in an internal email.

“The Prime Minister’s Office has acted on the creation of a single police force in charge of food safety by transferring powers from the Ministry of Economy and Finance” to that of Agriculture, explained the general management. of the DGCCRF, attached to Bercy, in this letter dated Wednesday.

Effective on January 1, 2023 with the “transfer of 60 jobs from the DGCCRF to the Directorate General for Food (DGAL)”, it aims to improve the effectiveness of controls and to clarify the competences of two entities.

A “thunderbolt” for the unions

Solidaires CCRF & SCL, the first union of the DGGCRF, for its part evokes a “clap of thunder”, “stunned” agents having learned of their future transfer on Wednesday by e-mail without prior social dialogue, explains its representative Roland Girerd.

“One of the very last political decisions of Messrs. Castex, Le Maire and Denormandie is to break the public service of food safety, outside of any public debate”, deplores the union in a press release.

For him, the emotion caused by the recent food scandals leads today to the “sacrifice of an administrative scapegoat”, without calling into question the responsibility of the food industry.

“If frauds are committed, it is because they generate financial profits” he adds, regretting that the two functions are separated.

A single authority

The scandals of Buitoni pizzas contaminated with E. coli bacteria and Kinder pizzas at the origin of an epidemic of salmonellosis in Europe have called into question the controls of food production sites, which are largely based on internal industrial procedures.

After the Lactalis affair and the contamination of formula milk by salmonella in 2017, a commission of inquiry had asked the State to put an end to the “police war” in terms of food safety control, and to create a single authority under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Opposed to this transfer at the time, the Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire had put this idea back on the table in mid-April by evoking the creation of a “food safety police”, bringing together the staff of Bercy and those of the Ministry of Agriculture.

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