The creation of Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) was adopted at second reading by the Parliament on Thursday.
The agency will start functioning as soon as the text is published in the Bulgarian State Gazette, which was expected to happen by January 1.
The voting for the text began in the end of 2010 and it delayed the launching of the new institution, which will include the currently existing National Veterinary Service, National Plant Protection Service, National Grain and Grain Products Service, and a unit in the public health body, which is responsible for food safety.
28 regional centers for food safety will be included in BFSA. Its executive director will be appointed by the Prime Minister, upon proposal by the Agriculture Minister.
According to the text, the agency will control all foods. An exception will be the bottled natural mineral and table water, which will be monitored by regional health inspections of the Health Ministry.
BFSA will assess if the quality characteristics of foods follow the national standards, developed by branch organizations and approved by the respective units.
It is envisioned that the Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, and the Health Minister, Stefan Konstantinov, establish national laboratories for food testing.
The agency will monitor the activity of more than 140,000 companies for production, processing and trade with foods.
The members of the new agency, together with the regional structures, are expected to be 400 less than the members of the four services that existed until, due to the reduction of the repeating units.