The inspection of goods subject to the LMSVG (foods, drinking water, food contact materials, toys, cosmetics) is organised indirectly as part of the federal administration in Austria.
Legislative power is in the hands of the federal government, while the execution of the laws is subject to the indirect federal administration in the provinces. Official food samples are taken by the local food safety authorities of the provinces. The samples are analysed and evaluated by AGES or the respective examination centres in Vienna, Carinthia and Vorarlberg. Should the evaluation result (official expert opinion) in a complaint, the relevant local authority (food safety authority) must undertake the appropriate measures.
Moreover, AGES assists the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the provinces in sample and audit planning and their reporting obligations with statistical and specialist knowledge and ensures the safe transfer of information between the provinces and to the European Commission (RASFF, RAPEX).
The official monitoring system is complex and coordinating its tasks and the departments involved is done by the BMG. Official inspections follow the principles of quality assurance to ensure standardised inspections and the use of a risk-based methodology. Food laws are harmonised within the European Union. Thus, foods in the entire EU market are subject to the same safety and labelling regulations. Goods are moved freely and actively between EU Member States.
Regulation compliance monitoring and controls are done on a national basis within the responsibility of the Member States, which are controlled in turn by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission (EC) on a regular basis. This should ensure that regulation compliance is checked equally reliably and sufficiently in all Member States. FVO control reports are published by the EC (The Food and Veterinary Office-Country Profiles). Should the FVO find any shortcomings or deficiencies in any national control systems, the Member States will be requested to remedy them. This will be checked at the next FVO visit.
There are also European Alert Systems for information transfer on health damaging or unsafe products in place between the relevant monitoring authorities of the Member States in addition to regular FVO visits, to ensure the free movement of goods and the protection of consumers. RASFF (for food and feed) and RAPEX (for toys and cosmetic products) can be mentioned in this context. Thus, shortcomings or faults can be detected quickly in the community-wide movement of goods, measures taken and potential effects on consumers kept to a minimum. The alerts are made public by the EC in the form of an overview.