Customs Office Austria and BAES strengthen cooperation in control along the food chain

| Fertilizer Feed, Illegal fishing, Plant Protection Service, Plant protection products, Plant species, Seed and planting material, Marketing standards, Control

The cooperation agreement between customs and BAES brings more safety for consumers with regard to food as well as protection of domestic agriculture against introduced pests.

The Austrian Customs Office (ZAÖ) and the Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES) signed a cooperation agreement on July 14, 2023, thus strengthening their strategic and practical cooperation. The aim is to ensure an even closer control of imported plants, food and feed as well as quality along the food chain in the future.

Finance Minister Magnus Brunner emphasizes the interdepartmental bundling of resources: "With this important agreement and the establishment of this structure, the Austrian Customs Office and the Federal Office for Food Safety are taking an important step towards efficient and successful task fulfillment. The security of our location and our population are goals of the highest priority, which we are pursuing together with combined strength."

For BAES Director Thomas Kickinger, "especially in control, the joint exchange of knowledge and a coordinated approach between the authorities involved is of crucial importance." With this agreement, the cooperation in the control along the food chain will be raised to a new level: "I would like to thank my colleagues from the Austrian Customs Office for the good cooperation. Close-meshed control during import or travel increases overall safety for domestic plant life as well as the quality of our agricultural products."

Strategic cooperation in import controls

The two agencies are focusing on greater strategic cooperation, information sharing and collaboration in their overlapping areas of operation. These commonalities in the daily work of the Federal Office for Food Safety and the Austrian Customs Office lie in import controls, with the ZAÖ responsible for the control of all imported goods and the BAES for those goods that are subject, for example, to the Feed, Fertilizer, Seed and Plant Protection Act or also the Marketing Standards Act. With the agreement, the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Office for Food Safety are strengthening the exchange of expertise.

"With this, our customs officers are now also formally strengthening their technical cooperation in control tasks that fall well within our area of responsibility, both thematically and in our day-to-day work. After all, the goods described are of course among those items that our bodies clear through customs in their work and inspect time and again. However, shared knowledge and its transfer is also essential for further successful cooperation. That's why I'm glad that our agreement also takes into account the joint training and further education of specific expertise and includes the needs assessment for training offers. In this way, we additionally ensure the quality of our work through knowledge management and the exchange of experience, from which everyone will benefit," ZAÖ Executive Director Heike Fetka-Blüthner emphasizes one aspect of the new agreement.


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