Kyiv, July 14, 2015. State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Rights Protection (the State Foods and Consumer Service) will create an inspection schedule adhering to common European practices and will notify businesses in advance of inspection, said the agency’s head Serhiy Hlushchenko, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center as a part of the Ukraine Reforms Communication Taskforce’s project. “Chaotic inspections must remain in the past. The State Foods and Consumer Service will focus on consulting and aiding businesses to comply with legislation, not punishing companies,” said Hlushchenko.
The State Foods and Consumer Service was founded by the Cabinet of Ministers in September 2014 on the basis of five supervisory agencies: the State Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service, the State Consumer Safety Inspection, the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service and the Assay Chamber and the State Farming Inspection. Nevertheless, this agency was not functioning properly. It was only at the beginning of July 2015 that the Cabinet of Ministers appointed the head (Hlushchenko) and his first deputy (Volodymyr Melnychuk). According to Hlushchenko, the provision on the State Foods and Consumer Service will be functional in six to eight weeks.
As strategic priorities, Hlushchenko listed revising the risk assessment approach, the notification system and overall business relations. Hlushchenko said that the supervising function of the State Foods and Consumer Service as well as the laboratories network would be revised and reduced. All innovations will take place in the context of harmonization with the EU supervisory system.
“Despite so many functions being given to a single agency, we must abandon some monitoring functions. There is an institute of so-called private inspectors functioning in the European Union. The state intentionally passes some monitoring functions to private agencies on outsourcing. We will also try and apply the same practice. Definitely, these inspectors will be accountable to the State Foods and Consumer Service and will work in compliance with the approved inspection schedule,” said Hlushchenko.
Taras Kachka, head of Ukraine Reforms Communication Taskforce, added that the full-scale launch of the State Foods and Consumer Service is intended to relieve pressure on businesses by eliminating some overlapping responsibilities. However, consumer protection will increase as the food safety reform is launched. “In general, functioning of the whole market of consumer goods and export of products from Ukraine will depend on the State Foods and Consumer Service work. It will also involve implementation of several provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Thus, it is a vital element of institutional reforms in Ukraine which will influence daily life of the community,” concluded Kachka.