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Jointly mastering the challenges of food safety in globalised markets

53/2017, 21.12.2017

BfR and Swedish Food Authority cooperating on the detection of contaminants, strategies against antimicrobial resistance and risk communication

On 28 November 2017, the Director-General of the swedish food authority "Livsmedelsverket", Dr. Annica Sohlström, and the President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, agreed on close cooperation in future in the field of food safety. The cooperation agreement was signed at Livsmedelsverket’s head office in Uppsala. The main focus of the cooperation lies in the development and further development of food analysis methods, in particular screening and standard methods for detecting contaminants. "Against the backdrop of increasingly globalised trading in fish and seafood, for example, we need easy-to-use routine methods for detecting marine biotoxins which will stand up in court," said Professor Hensel when signing the cooperation agreement. The BfR and Livsmedelsverket will also be collaborating to develop strategies to minimise antimicrobial resistance in livestock and to support risk communication through graphic information instruments.

Bild von der Unterzeichnung der Kooperationsvertrages des BfR mit der schwedischen Lebensmittelbehörde

Accordingly, the Swedish experts showed great interest in the BfR risk profiles prepared by the BfR in the course of mostly complex opinions, the goal of which is to illustrate the health risks of foods and consumer articles at a glance and in a manner understandable to non-professionals. With the Risk Thermometer, an instrument has been developed at Livsmedelsverket which allows the risk assessor to evaluate and classify the risks of the substances contained in foods comparatively and categorise them according to their relevance for the consumer. Within the scope of the cooperation, the BfR will examine the extent to which the Risk Thermometer is suitable as an instrument to contribute towards a more precise and valid presentation of the risks in a risk profile.

Other thematic areas which it will be possible to deal with jointly in future are to be identified at specialised conferences involving scientists of both institutions. The exchange of experiences and knowledge among experts and corresponding workshops on individual specialised issues are intended to deepen cooperation in future.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. 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.

The BfR is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the institute has published a jubilee brochure (in German) which can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/publication/brochures-61045.html.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

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