Food Safety – Central Register of Facilities

If you want to be an entrepreneur or start a business in the field of production and trade of food of plant and mixed origin and animal feed, you need to pay attention to a few things. First of all, it is necessary to register a company or entrepreneur in the Business Registers Agency. However, since this is a specific business activity, the legislation prescribes the fulfilment of some other conditions. Namely, the registration of subjects and facilities in food business is prescribed by the Law on Food Safety (Official Gazette of RS 41/2009 and 17/2019) and regulated by the Rulebook on the content and manner of managing the Central Register of Facilities (Official Gazette of RS 20/2010). The law defines the terms, which refer to business activities, subjects and facilities in the mentioned activities, as follows:

 

  • Trade in food and animal feed is the storage, distribution, sale, display for sale, exchange and transfer, whether free of charge or not, import, transit and export, except for scientific research purposes;
  • Retail trade is the handling of food, ie its processing, preparation, storage, at the place of sale or delivery to the consumer, the activity of preparation and serving of food, and especially in:
  • shops, supermarkets, megamarkets,
  • collective catering facilities (canteens, hospitals, kindergartens, schools, etc.),
  • public catering facilities (public kitchens),
  • catering establishments, roasters, fast food establishments, pastry shops, bakeries, as well as catering and ready-to-eat food delivery services;
  • Wholesale trade is the handling of food, its processing, preparation, storage at the place of sale or delivery, for further sale or processing (distribution centres);
  • A food business entity is a legal or natural person, ie an entrepreneur, responsible for meeting the legal requirements for the food business it manages;
  • An entity in the business of animal feed is a legal or natural person, ie an entrepreneur, responsible for meeting the legal conditions for the business of animal feed which he manages;
  • Food is any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, that is intended for human consumption or can reasonably be expected to be used for human consumption, except:
  • animal feed,
  • live animals, if they are not prepared for placing on the market for human consumption,
  • plants before harvesting, picking or fruit picking,
  • medical devices,
  • cosmetic products,
  • tobacco and tobacco products,
  • psychoactively controlled substances and precursors,
  • residues and contaminants.
  • Food is also beverage, chewing gum, as well as any substance intentionally added to food during preparation, processing or production. Food is also drinking water, including water in the original packaging (table water, mineral water and spring water), as well as water that is used or added during the preparation, processing or production of food. Drinking water is water in original packaging and water for public supply to the population;
  • Animal feed is any substance or product, processed, partially processed or unprocessed, and intended for the consumption of animals used for food production;
  • The stage of production, processing and trade is any part of production, processing and trade, including import, primary food production, processing, storage, transport, sale or supply to consumers, or import, primary production, processing, storage, transport, sale and supply of animal feed.

 

The production and trade of food and animal feed may be engaged in by a legal entity and an entrepreneur registered in the Central Register of Facilities (hereinafter: Central Register) maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. The Central Register keeps data on facilities intended for performing business activity. If an entity registers one prevailing business activity related to food, it must register the same or related business activity in the same area for each of the facilities in order for the registration in the Central Register to be successful.

In accordance with the Rulebook, if a special regulation does not require prior determination of meeting the conditions for performing a certain business activity, as well as if a special regulation does not prescribe the obligation to register, food and feed production facilities are entered in the Central Register based on the entity’s application in the food and feed business. Along with the application, the entity in the business of food and animal feed is obliged to submit documentation confirming the accuracy of the data entered in the Central Register. Upon registration in the Central Register, the Ministry shall issue a certificate of registration to the applicant, containing the registration number. Each food and feed business entity may have only one registration number. A registration number that has been assigned once may not be changed, nor may it be assigned to another subject in the event of cessation of the business activities of that entity.

 

Registration in the Register of facilities, ie the Register of approved facilities in accordance with the Rulebook on registration, ie approval of facilities for the production and trade of animal feed (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 23/2018)

 

Facilities for the production and trade of animal feed that are registered or approved in accordance with the law governing veterinary medicine and the Rulebook on registration, ie approval of facilities for the production and trade of animal feed are all facilities under the control of the feed business operator. They perform the activity of production and trade of animal feed at any stage. We distinguish between the request for registration of the facility and the request for approval of the facility depending on the activity (therefore, there are two different registers). In both cases, the entrepreneur or legal entity submits a request on the prescribed form prior the start of activities to the Ministry responsible for veterinary affairs. In the case of facilities that are registered, the Ministry checks whether the application has been filled in correctly and, on the basis of a properly submitted application, enters it in the Register of facilities and assigns a veterinary control number. In the case of approved facilities, the Ministry checks whether the application is properly completed and determines whether the facility for the production and sale of animal feed meets the prescribed conditions and if so, the facility is approved and entered in the Register of Approved Facilities and assigned a unique veterinary control number.

 

In case it is determined that the facility for production and trade of animal feed meets the prescribed conditions regarding the facility, premises, space and equipment, as well as general conditions of hygiene of animal feed, the facility is temporarily approved, temporarily entered in the Register of approved facilities and it is assigned a veterinary control number, for a maximum of three months. After that, another check of the fulfilment of conditions is performed, so the facility is approved or the deadline is extended for an additional 3 months, after which a final decision is made, the facility is approved, entered in the Register of approved facilities and retains the assigned veterinary control number. If it is determined that all prescribed conditions have not been met in the facility, it is not approved, it is deleted from the Register of approved facilities and the assigned veterinary control number is revoked.

 

Registration in the Register of facilities, ie the Register of approved facilities in accordance with the Rulebook on registration, ie approval of facilities for the production and trade of food of animal origin (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 59/2019)

 

The procedure of registration in the Register of facilities is identical to the procedure in accordance with the Rulebook on registration, ie approval of facilities for production and trade of animal feed, which we have already described, while the procedure of entry in the Register of approved facilities differs in case of facilities for production and trade of animal origin. Namely, after receiving the request for approval and entry in the Register, the Ministry checks whether the request is filled in correctly and the Minister responsible for veterinary affairs forms a commission that inspects the facility to determine compliance with veterinary and sanitary conditions, ie general and special conditions for food hygiene of animal origin in the facility and compliance of conditions with the submitted request. If the commission determines that the mentioned conditions are met in the facility for production and trade of food of animal origin, the facility is temporarily (3-6 months) approved to perform activities, the facility is temporarily entered in the Register of approved facilities and assigned a veterinary control number. Prior the expiration of the deadline, the commission shall re-determine whether the mentioned conditions are still met in the facility for production and trade of food of animal origin. If the facility for production and trade of food of animal origin meets the conditions, it shall be entered in the Register of approved facilities and the assigned veterinary control number shall be retained. If it is determined that the facility for production and trade of food of animal origin does not meet the conditions, the facility is not approved, it is deleted from the Register of approved facilities and the assigned veterinary control number is revoked.

 

Penal provisions

 

In case of non-compliance with the above rules, the legal entity or entrepreneur may be liable for violations in accordance with the Law on Veterinary Medicine (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 91/2005, 30/2010, 93/2012 and 17/2019) and the Law on Food Safety (Official Gazette of RS 41/2009 and 17/2019). According to the Law on Veterinary Medicine, a legal entity that performs any of the activities defined by this law, without prior entry in the prescribed register, commits an economic offense for which a fine in the range of 300,000 to 3,000,000 dinars is prescribed.

The Law on Food Safety prescribes an economic offense for a legal entity in the case of production and trade of food and feed without prior entry in the Central Register of Facilities, for which a fine in the range of 300,000 to 3,000,000 dinars is prescribed. For the same violation, the entrepreneur will be fined in the range of 250,000 to 500,000 dinars.