Transfer of competence from the DGCCRF to the DGAL: what changes for food supplements
Starting from 2023, some food law aspects previously managed by the DGCCRF are transferred to the DGAL. What are the practical consequences for food supplements?
Transfer of competence for food supplements: the context
The French reorganization of food safety*, based on Decree No. 2022-840 of June 1, 2022 on the powers of the minister of agriculture and food sovereignty*, assigns the monitoring of missions related to food safety and the role of “single police*” in charge of food safety controls to the nation’s Ministry in charge of agriculture, and more specifically to the DGAL* (Directorate general of food, which depends on the said Ministry). This leads to the transfer of a number of competences previously held by other administrations, as the DGCCRF* (Directorate general of competition, consumption and fraud control, which depends on the Ministry in charge of the economy) for food supplements.
While the supervision of the fairness and quality (compliance with the rules of labeling, composition, naming, and claims) of food supplements will remain a prerogative of the DGCCRF, all aspects related to safety, including the management of food supplement notifications, pass under the supervision of the DGAL. The DGAL deals with these aspects through the new BEPIAS office (a bureau dedicated to specialized food industry establishments and products), specifically established within the Sub-directorate for food safety. The BEPIAS office is in charge of developing, implementing and controlling the safety regulation of specialized foods, namely food supplements, GMOs, enriched foods, novel foods, and food improvement agents (additives and processing aids, enzymes, flavorings and colorants).
Transfer of competence for food supplements: which changes in practice?
The transfer of competence should not overturn current practices, at least for the time being. Indeed, the DGCCRF guidelines, safety aspects and lists on vitamins and minerals, plants and “other substances” in food supplements remain in force. As for the online notification of food supplements, the Téléicare platform* and its user interface also remain the same. However, not everything stays identical. If “article 16*” notifications, based on mutual recognition, will still be systematically checked by the administration, “article 15*” notifications will be controlled “randomly”, on the basis of risk analyses and targetings.
The most striking novelty is the introduction of a letter of committal to compliance with food law*, which must be signed by the notifier and sent by e-mail to the DGAL in conjunction with the notification request on Téléicare. The signature of the document contributes to point out that the first responsible for the compliance of products with food regulations is the food business operator who places them on the market, and that the certificate of declaration issued by the French authorities does not constitute a proof of compliance. The certificate of declaration (if applicable) will be issued after a period of 2 months from the reception of the committal to compliance; during this time, professionals may modify the data or withdraw their application.
The changes described are already in place, as the transition period for the online notification has ended in March 2023. As part of the transfer of competence, the DGAL has published a web page dedicated to food supplements*. It is also possible to consult a DGAL document summarizing the changes stemming from the transfer*.
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* : link in French