Action 22: Implement a fully dematerialised environment to sustain the free and secure movement of safe food and plant products (new May 2017)

Potential of action

In the context of the revision of the Official Control Regulation, an Integrated Management System for Official Control (IMSOC) is foreseen for the food chain and plant products. This concept will allow integrating the national and EU wide services delivering a far more efficient Official Controls tool at EU borders or in the EU Single Market. Electronic integration with the Single Window for Customs is already a growing reality.

Making use of the new legal opportunities proposed by CNECT (Regulation (EU) 910/2014) on the interoperability of electronic identification and signatures will allow delivering a completely dematerialised (paperless) Official Control environment. Assessments done with the food chain and plant stakeholders have shown immediate and huge efficiency gains for the EU Single Market by lowering drastically the administrative cost/burden of import-export-internal market operations. This dematerialisation of documents will impact more than 2 million official documents per year covering administratively 100% of our food and plant import and intra-EU movements.

Description of action

  • Standardisation for interoperability: During the last 5 years, DG SANTE has been a very active contributor to semantic and technical interoperability in the UN/UNCEFACT forums. This has allowed the adoption at international level of a comprehensive set of interoperability assets covering the digitalisation of animal and plant health certificates, laboratory tests, animal identifications, tracing and tracking and alert management. We are pushing the use of these international standards in our systems, as well as for the MS and the stakeholders.
  • Dematerialisation of Official Control documents: Electronic signature is the key asset of a complete dematerialisation of official documents. Thanks to the entry in force of Regulation (EU) 910/2014 on “electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market”, the production of specific IT building blocks produced by the CEF programme sustaining those electronic services and a specific business process review with our stakeholders, we will be able to gradually (2017-2020) replace all the actual set of paper evidences by their electronic equivalents which will be considered legally as authentic documents.
  • A strong position worldwide: the heart of the EC dimension of IMSOC will be constituted by the TRACES system now used by all the EU countries and more than 60 third countries. Allowing paperless operations with these countries is placing the EU in a very competitive position to develop safe and efficient trade with them. In addition, TRACES allows the less developed of these third countries to trade between them and with us in the same simple, secure and practical manner and thus contribute actively to the Digital for Development action of CNECT and DEVCO.


Implementation of the action

More than half of the EU Member States have already been enrolled to sign electronically their certificates in Traces systems according to the implementation of IMSOC in 14/12/2019. The action of the dematerialisation process has been proposed successfully to third countries and some have already been enrolled to sign electronically in Traces. Following also the action of DG Sante that discussed and have implemented the connections between the IPPC ePhyto hub and Traces, this allowed almost 20 third countries to the use of the service and to exchange already paperless phytosanitary certificates with Traces. In the meantime DG AGRI has joined the process of electronic signature regarding organic certificates proposed in TRACES and more than half of the Competent authorities and control bodies have been enrolled and are producing paperless organic certificates.

The implementing act for SPS certification and EU entry documents has been adopted in September 2019.

Main responsible at the European Commission

  • DG Health and Food Safety (SANTE)

Start date: 2017

Target date: 2017-2020

Status: Completed

More info (website)

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