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Department Biological Safety
Within the framework of the statutory remit of risk assessment in the field of food safety and consumer protection, the Department Biological Safety deals with health risks for humans which may arise more particularly from micro-organisms, the toxins formed by them and other microbial metabolites. They include bacteria, yeast and mould but also viruses, parasites and TSE pathogens.
This work encompasses not only food but also feed and consumer items (e.g. appliances for processing food, food packaging materials, tableware) as well as cosmetics including the processes for their collection, manufacture, processing and distribution as vehicles of biological risks.
The tasks include diagnostic methods for the detection of the various pathogens in foods, their virulence properties, as well as work on the prevalence of microbiological risks in foods and qualitative and quantitative risk assessments.
The Department is involved in establishing the cause of outbreaks of foodborne diseases and zoonoses (statutory task anchored in the Protection Against Infection Act).
The Department has a number of reference laboratories for the diagnosis and fine typing of pathogens, antibiotic resistance and the microbiological contamination of foods (a task anchored in food and zoonosis legislation).
Furthermore, it is responsible for carrying out and co-ordinating the collection of surveillance data in order to prepare the annual zoonosis trend report on the national and European levels.
Department 4 has the following Units:
- Unit 41: Food Technologies, Supply Chains and Food Defense
- Unit 42: Food Hygiene and Food Virology
- Unit 43: Epidemiology, Zoonoses and Antimicrobial Resistance
- Unit 44: Microbial Toxins
- Unit 45: Diagnostics and Pathogen Characterisation
- Unit 46: Molecular Microbiology and Genome Analysis
- Unit 47: Product Hygiene and Disinfection Strategies