www.fasfc.be       BFSA - BUSINESS PLAN 2015-2017
Belgian Food Safety Agency

  Introduction Printable version   |   Last update on 22.04.2016

In the aftermath of the dioxin crisis of 1999, the government decided that all control and inspection services which are dealing with food safety had to be reorganized so as to improve their efficiency. This led to the creation of the Belgian Food Safety Agency by the law of 4 February 2000. The BFSA is a semigovernmental type A institution.

The first business plan had been drawn up by the then CEO at the explicit request of the government so as to have a policy document for the BFSA. In his business plan of 15 September 2000, approved by the government on 22 November 2000, the major policy options, still actual today, were already outlined. It provided for the control of the entire chain by installing a global monitoring program, the necessity of self-checking systems of which its implementation can also be verified by neutral third parties. The basic elements of self-checking were described - the registration of FFBO’s, traceability, mandatory notification and the application of internationally accepted standards such as HACCP. The need for an adapted system for smaller enterprises had been recognized too. The funding of the BFSA had to be neutral on the budgetary level, with contributions by the sectors for funding the control activities in function of their risk. Enterprises having implemented and maintained a self-checking system had to obtain a financial stimulus.

A collaboration with the different stakeholders had to be aimed at.

The structure of the BFSA and the integration of the different services were roughly laid down, including a crisis cell, a communication cell and a consumer helpline.

The initial focus was on the development of new structures, the integration of several services (from the Ministries of Agriculture, Public Health and the Institute for veterinary Inspection) and the development of a new control policy.

Origin of the BFSA

From 2002 the development of the BFSA accelerated, based on the work which had been carried out and after a new board of directors had been designated. In 2003, the Agency had a proper budget and in that same year the Royal Decree concerning selfchecking came into force. In 2004, the integration of the different services had finally been completed and for the first time, the Agency worked on the basis of a global programme for all sectors, products and risks based on a risk assessment.

After finalizing the internal integration and the foundations had been laid for a new policy, it was necessary to draw up a new business plan which focused on the development of a reliable organisation and operational efficiency.

The second business plan, drawn up for the period 2005-2008, started from the core process of the BFSA, its relation with the stakeholders, the new structure and a SWOT-analysis implemented internally as well as externally. A strategic vision was developed, the aim of which was to create an added value in 5 broad result areas - realizing a safe food chain, a reliable image, maintaining a stable legal framework, pursuing the complementarity with the sectors and an excellent operational service. The vision was developed in 11 strategic targets. The implementation of the validation of the self-checking systems by third parties and by the BFSA, the external certification of the quality systems of the BFSA, an efficient risk assessment, an integrated IT system, communication to consumers and FFBO’s and of course a new financing system were some of the innovative goals set out for the Agency.

The stimulation of self-checking

The business plans 2009-2011 and 2012-2014 were not only based on the realizations of the preceding business plans, but each also emphasized different aspects, such as a context analysis, administratively as well as socio-economically, the fine-tuning of the financing, inspection frequencies were determined and the inspection was formalized. Attention was paid to the FFBO’s’ and consumers’ acceptance, to transparency, to the stimulation of self-checking, to cutting the red tape and to the export of products from the agro-food industry, the development of quality assurance and of efficient IT-tools, more training for FFBO’s,...

2005-2008 2009-2011 2012-2014
Efficient risk assessment Efficient and effective crisis management An increasingly safe food chain A safer food chain
  An agency accepted by food business FFBO’s and recognized by society An agency accepted by food business FFBO’s and recognized by society and the consumers in particular
Communication to consumers and enterprises A transparent Agency A transparent Agency
From inspection to audit The stimulation of self-checking The expansion of self-checking in the food chain
  The way to administrative simplification Administrative simplification
Competent and highly trained staff members A professional and demanding Agency in the field of results A modern human resources policy
Public-private cooperation An optimal public-private cooperation  
A good cooperation with other public services A constructive and efficient cooperation with other public services  
Integrated information and data management An integrated IT-management An ambitious IT plan
Quality assurance Quality guarantees on services rendered  
    Reliable and high-performing laboratories
Update of the existing funding mechanisms    
  Sustainable development & the BFSA  
Integrating the European context International context International trade: improving services provided to exporters and achieve international recognition of the Agency

Meanwhile, the list of the realisations is impressive :
  • the integration of the old services into a new agency in less than 2 years,
  • the creation of new services - a communication cell, a crisis cell, a consumer helpline, a quality service including internal audit,
  • the optimization of their functioning via a BPR program (business process reengineering): Food@work,
  • the introduction of the concept of self-checking validated by independent third parties,
  • a control program, based on risk assessment which is based on a fixed methodology with inspections carried out according to certain frequencies and a sampling program which is to be adjusted yearly for the entire food chain,
  • a new financing system which was adjusted later on as the data on which it was based, improved
  • the certification of nearly all activities under the ISO 9001, 17020, 17025 and EMAS standards,
  • the systematic and regular inquiry of the stakeholders from which a SWOT-analysis is deduced and which was used as an input for the business plan,
  • a regular consultation with all stakeholders in the Advisory Committee and during the sector meetings,
  • a set of crisis scenarios
  • the organisation of crisis exercises on a regular basis,
  • an efficiently working Scientific Committee,
  • a systematic consultation with all stakeholders regarding new initiatives,
  • a comprehensive website,
  • an extended system in order to develop the implementation of self-checking systems,
  • the financial reward for those FFBO’s who have a validated self-checking system,
  • 2 campaigns concerning administrative simplification with quite some real and visible realizations in the field,
  • a fruitful cooperation with the private partners (veterinarians, laboratories, associations for controlling animal diseases, certification organisms and sector organisations) and other public services, which are formalized in agreements and protocols,
  • a well functioning system of administrative fines,
  • impartial inspections based on checklists,
  • a fully integrated IT-system enabling the collection of data from controls and inspections. These data are at one’s disposal in order to draw up reports, and are also at the disposal of the food and feed businees FFBO’s (FFBO’s).
  • a full internal audit and an independent Audit committee,
  • a mediation service,
  • reinforcement of the services responsible for supporting export,
  • an service to vulgarize food safety systems
  • the food safety barometer, the plant and animal health barometers,
  • a very transparent Agency,
  • high-performing laboratories,
  • well structured corporate services,
  • a high-yield recovery system for fees and contributions,
  • a modern human resources management.
  • management based on business plans which are developed into strategic and operational plans.

These realisations can serve as a basis for developing the new business plan. The approach will be directed both by aiming at a continuous improvement and by being responsive to new societal trends. But despite this solid basis, the BFSA faces a new and important challenge - maintaining the maximum of its activities in times of major cutbacks.

In general these cutbacks imply :
  • Staff appropriations will be reduced by 4% in 2015 and by an additional 2% in the following years.
  • Running and investment costs will be reduced by 20% in 2015 and by an additional 2% in the following years.

For the BFSA, these cutbacks are only applied on the part of the expenditure covered by public funding (60%). This implies that the budget of € 176,059,936 in 2014 has been reduced to a budget of € 162,436,732 in 2015 or a reduction of € 13,623,204. Cutbacks will have an impact on the organization itself as well as on the partners with whom it collaborates. Compared with 2008, when expenditure budget still amounted to € 186 million it is clear that in recent years significant efforts have been made to preserve the BFSAactivities, but these additional efforts will certainly have an effect on services rendered to consumers and enterprises.
Our mission is to preserve the safety and the quality of our food in order to protect humans, animals and plants.

- Consumers
- Smiley
- Foodweb
- Surveys FASFC
- Official spokespeople
- Provincial Control Units
- Internal and external laboratories
- Contact point for consumers