I got back from my holiday last week to find a letter from the AFSCA – the Agence Federale pour la Securite de la Chaine Alimentaire. In other words the agency that takes care of food health and safety.The very official letter signed by the director of the agency no less and containing an impressive stamp ie seal of approval, was informing me that I need to register with them. This is somewhat puzzling since if you have looked at the sort of activities that I am engaged in you can see that it is all to do with business and technology for space and security. maybe the last word tripped them up?
When I registered with the companies registrar, which in Belgium is le carrefour d’enterprise, I was asked to select the activities in which I would be working. I ticked a box saying that I may give professional training (formation professionnelle); not unreasonable given my experience in business and the sector. It seems that this is the problem. I am told that by ticking this box I am obliged to register with the food safety agency!!
I feel like replying to them that space tourism is a potential new business area and that if it takes off I might consider offering some training courses in food supply. We can talk again in 10 years time when we shall know how much space tourism has developed. But then I am not really well qualified to do this and in any case I doubt that the sense of humour at the AFSCA is quite up to appreciating this sort of response. I should likely get another demand to inscribe with them.
What I object to is the tone of such a letter coming from an official organisation. It is more like the sort of hard selling from a magazine or share boiler room . If they were to write saying that we note that….. you should be aware that…… if you plan to offer training in activities linked to food then you should register……. I would not have a problem. But the language of the letter is not supportive or even authoritative it is dictatorial ie you must do this.
I have not yet responded but it will be a simple reply saying that I am not engaged in any relevant activity. I hope that will be the last I hear from them!