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5. Food and Agriculture

The food industry and agriculture are among the most important and dynamic industrial sectors in Bulgaria.  The legal framework of these areas is extensive and covers several laws and regulations, most significant or which are: the Food Act, the Animal Feed Act, Livestock Act, Wine and Spirits Act, Agricultural Producers Assistance Act.

 

Manufacture, import and distribution of food are related to compliance with multiple regulatory requirements and in many cases require obtaining of special permits, licenses or approvals. For example, import licenses for agricultural products, control and certification of organic production, certificates for dairy production in case the Bulgarian state standards are followed.

 

State control of the requirements for raw materials, food and feed, the materials and objects intended for food contact, the compliance with the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables with European Union standards for marketing, plant operations, plant protection products and fertilizers, veterinary activity, animal health and welfare is carried out by established at the beginning of 2011 Bulgarian Agency for Food Safety (BAFS).

 

Food products may be marketed and sold only in food stores registered under the Food Act, The registered food stores should meet the health requirements and apply the good practices in the food trade sector as well as to have in place a food safety management system.

 

The Registration of food stores is carried out by the Regional Directorates for Food Safety (RDFS) according to the location of the food store. To this end, the trader must submit an application with a list of food groups or meals to be produced or sold on site attached. For each new product the trader must submit a new application to the administration. Within 30 days after submission of documents relevant authority performs a check for compliance with the hygiene requirements. If the object meets the statutory requirements, its registration is made within 15 days after the inspection and a registration certificate is issued.

 

A system of registration of agricultural and forestry equipment and machinery exists as well. The owner of the respective machinery and equipment should within 30 days of acquisition register it with the regional office of the Technical Control Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture. The purpose of registration is exercising control over the existing agricultural and forestry equipment in order to ensure their safety use.

 

Trade in food products

Competent authority

  • The District Food Safety Directorate

Procedures and required documents

  • Food products may be marketed only in stores registered under the Food Act which:
  • -meet the sanitary requirements;
  • -apply the good practices for food trade and have in place systems for management of food safety.
  • The business entity shall file a fixed-form application which shall have attached thereto a list of the groups of foods or dishes which will be produced or sold at the establishment;
  • The administration shall make an on-site inspection of the establishment's compliance with the sanitary requirements.
  • If the establishment satisfies the regulatory requirements, a registration shall be made.
  • The director of DFSD shall issue a registration certificate.
  • If a product which is to be placed on the market is not included in the list of groups of foods provided with the application the business entity shall file a new application to the administration and the whole procedure shall be repeated.

Terms

  • 30 days from filing the application for inspection.
  • 15 days for registration of the establishment.
  • 7 days for issuance of a registration certificate.

 

Registration of farmers

Legal framework

  • The Supporting of Farmers Act
  • Ordinance No. 3 of 29.01.1999 on the creation and maintenance of a Farmers' register

Competent authority

  • The District Agriculture Directorates with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food according to the farmers' permanent addresses

Procedures and required documents

  • The farmer shall file with the relevant District Agriculture Directorate one or more questionnaire cards completed and certified (by the municipal service of agriculture and forests, a veterinary, a mayor of a town hall or a regional unit of the Executive Agency of Vine and Wine) containing certain required information depending on the type of agricultural activity carried out by the farmer;
  • The data from the questionnaire cards shall be entered into the Register of Farmers;
  • A registration card shall be issued to the farmer which must be certified by the District Agriculture Directorate on an annual basis.

Terms

  • Any change in the circumstances stated in the questionnaire cards shall be reported by the farmer to the District Agriculture Directorate within one month.
  • Upon termination of the activity the farmer shall file an application to the  District Agriculture Directorate within one month.