The Directorate General Control (DGC) implements the processes in order to guarantee food chain safety at every stage of production, processing and distribution.
On the one hand, it translates the annual control programme into provincial control plans and performs inspections, sampling and certification. On the other hand, it:
• prevents, detects and controls fraud and combats certain illegal practices of economic interest and the use of certain prohibited substances,
• creates an inventory of the operators carrying out activities within the food chain by granting approval, authorisation or registration,
• controls the implementation of a self-checking system on the part of operators and the marketing of safe, compliant and traceable products as defined by the current legislation,
• performs inspections and sampling and reports on these; also, where applicable, takes measures following controls, including an enhanced control following an unfavourable inspection,
• manages and constantly improves the quality system.
The DGC is composed of central services responsible for coordinating activities, and external services responsible for controls and certification. Each province and the Brussels Region have a local control unit (LCU). Each of these nine units are under the authority of an LCU head. The FASFC is ISO 17020 accredited for its inspection services.
Central Management departments
Central Management comprises 4 departments:
3 of these departments were created using an activity-based classification of all food business operators in accordance with the applicable checking system. Each department is responsible for a certain group of activities: These 3 departments are :
• the Primary Production Department (PRI) (plant and animal sector),
• the Processing Department(TRA),
• the Distribution Department (DIS).
One additional department serves a more transversal purpose :
The “Notifications and Certification” Unit (NCU) is responsible for the coordination and organization of checks in the context of third-country and intra-community export certifications. It also serves as a national contact point for the RASFF and AAC systems. Moreover, in the context of compulsory notification, the NCU is responsible for registering notifications of non-compliances and transferring these notifications to the relevant departments.
Regional Department and National Implementation and Coordination Department (NICD)
Two regional directors are appointed to the Directorate General Control to ensure coordination between the LCUs and with the central services. They use the services of a National Implementation and Coordination Department (NICD) in order to execute their mission.
The NICD assesses the quality of the controls performed by the LCUs throughout Belgium. Its tasks include ensuring uniform controls, executing coordinated inspections, organising audits of self-checking systems and accompanying FVO inspectors and foreign visitors.
The NICD also manages the VoAs and implements IT applications for the LCUs. It supervises the LCUs in the implementation of quality and environment management systems in accordance with standards ISO 9001, ISO 17020 and EMAS.
Local Control Units (LCU)
Nine local control units carry out controls in the field.
Each LCU is led by the LCU head, who organises the work and liaises with the central administration.
Each LCU is comprised of three sectors: one primary production sector (plant and animal sectors), one processing sector and one distribution sector.
There is also a border control post (BCP) located at Belgian ports and airports,it acts as a point of entry to the European market for animals, plants and products arriving from third countries.
National Investigation Unit (NIU)
The NIU is responsible for the prevention, detection and control of fraud and the use of prohibited substances (hormones, etc.). Depending on the (geographical, technical, etc.) complexity and/or organised nature of these violations, certain cases requiring a specialised, coordinated and/or multi-disciplinary approach (collaboration with the public prosecutor's department or the local or federal police) are entrusted to the NIU.