Veterinary Public Health Institute

Completed Projects

National Control Plan

Qualitative requirements for the development of the national control plan. Assessment and optimization of the process control concept


Contact person: Marie-B. Lefevre
Duration: 2010 - 2012


Based on the analysis of various national and international risk-based approaches for controls along the food chain, an optimized national control plan was designed for Switzerland. The Federal Veterinary Office (FVO), the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) are responsible for developing and improving this plan. It provides guidelines to coordinate the control activities of several national and local authorities. It aims to fulfill the following objectives: 1) protection of consumers against sanitary risks and deception according to the Swiss legislation for food and feed products; 2) enforcement of animal welfare and 3) protection of animal health.
Every element (operation category) of the food chain from producers to consumers is taken into account (e.g. primary producers, secondary producers, retail stores). The plan defines the control frequency of the different operation categories based on a risk assessment. This assessment is a comprehensive tool used to rank the different operation categories according to the different risks they present for food safety, animal health and welfare. The control frequency is determined based on the risk assessment regarding two types of criteria: (1) static criteria that refer to the risk of the operation category on each relevant hazard; (2) dynamic criteria that are based on the results of previous controls, and refer to each individual operation’s risk for the hazard. The working group involved in the national control plan also defines guidelines in order to conduct the national monitoring program. The risk assessment developed is a semi-quantitative assessment with risk scores that were defined using expert opinion. Such a comprehensive risk-based control program needs to include many simplifications for practical reason.
The objective of the proposed project is to assess the efficiency of the national control plan (2010-14), and to provide tools for optimizing the process control. This project will focus on risks associated with dairy production. In detail the following question will be addressed in order to better allocate resources in ensuring protection of consumer health, animal health and welfare according to national and international legislations:
- How reliable is the risk assessment used to define risk categories for the different operation categories? How to evaluate the contribution of the different hazard in the attribution to risk categories?
- How to convert risk categories into control frequencies?
- What dynamic criteria should be used and how should they influence the inspection frequency?
- What tool should be defined for the risk management in order to select what should be controlled and where?
- How efficient is the program in comparison with existing national risk-based programs?