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More intensive scientific exchange on risk communication with Estonia

30/2015, 26.10.2015

BfR signs cooperation agreement with the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture (PM)

On 22 October 2015, the BfR and the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture (PM) signed a cooperation agreement in Tallinn, laying the foundation for the further expansion of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment's (BfR) global expert network for food safety. "We attach high priority to the rapid and reliable exchange of scientific knowledge in the field of food safety," said BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel when the agreement was signed. "Together with our Estonian partners, we are particularly keen to promote activities in the field of risk communication."

The Estonian Ministry of Agriculture (PM) is concerned with agricultural policy and in particular food safety in Estonia. In addition to its risk assessment and risk management activities, the Ministry is also responsible for risk communication in the field of food safety.

The focal point of the cooperation agreement is the development of a mechanism for the regular exchange of information, particularly in crisis situations. The direct sharing of knowledge by employees of the two institutions is to be promoted by the staging of joint seminars and workshops. Plans have been made for an exchange of information on instruments for risk communication, risk perception and early risk detection, for example.

A further key topic of cooperation concerns risk assessment, and scientific exchange on the microbial risks of foods will therefore be a central element in this intensified cooperation. The aim is to work together to more effectively address the transmission paths of microbial risks in the food chain. Measures to combat pathogens should take effect at the earliest possible stage – in other words, during the production of food. The central objective is to create a specific scientific knowledge base for risk management and food monitoring. The BfR and the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture (PM) intend to create a solid scientific basis for the further development of food safety and consumer health protection.

The new cooperation agreement between the BfR and the Estonian Ministry is one of several international cooperation agreements signed by the BfR with the aim of promoting cross-border food safety. On 19 October 2015, the BfR signed a similar agreement on the exchange of scientific information with Portugal and is also party to bilateral agreements with its Chinese, Brazilian and French sister authorities, among others. The worldwide network is to be expanded further in future. You can find an overview of all the cooperation agreements on the BfR website: http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/european_and_international_co_operations-10361.html

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific 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.

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