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By experts for experts: the first BfR-Summer school successfully completed

24/2012, 28.08.2012

International exchange on risk assessment and risk communication in the area of food safety

 "By experts for experts!" was the motto of the first BfR-Summer School. 33 scientists attended the first Summer School organised by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). For two weeks, international scientists studied theoretical and practical aspects of food safety. "In order to be able to guarantee high food safety standards internationally, we need sound risk assessment and target group-oriented risk communication not only in Europe but worldwide", explains BfR President Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "In the BfR-Summer School, participants were able to engage in and work intensively with these issues, discuss them with other experts and network with them." After the successful first run, the BfR will in future regularly offer Summer Schools for scientists from Germany and abroad.

Participants came from different European and Asian countries including Belgium, Hungary, Croatia, China, Korea and Saudi Arabia. Most of them work for government institutions concerned with food safety. The scientists received important inspiration on the subject of risk assessment and risk communication which should help them set up and expand their own institutions in their home countries.

In the first week of the Summer School, lectures on the subject of risk characterisation, hazard and exposure assessment as well as an introduction to risk communication were on the timetable. In the second week, participants attended a workshop where they worked on risk assessments for pesticides and EHEC sprouts, for example. The lectures and workshops were held by BfR experts. For some lectures, speakers were invited from the Max Rubner Institute, the Danish Food Administration (DTU) and the University Clinic Charité in Berlin.

Apart from an intensive exchange between experts, the Summer School offered the scientists the opportunity to network. After the successful completion of the first BfR-Summer School, BfR is planning to offer these events in the future, featuring different topics. With the international Summer School, the BfR extends its work in the area of the basic and advanced training of experts as well as in the area of risk assessment and risk communication. The institute has been involved, together with the University Clinic Charité and other university institutions, in setting up a postgraduate course in toxicology. The goal is to recruit qualified junior staff for the institutions of consumer health protection and to develop regulatory toxicology.

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

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