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The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment strengthens consumer health protection worldwide

30/2019, 14.08.2019

BfR training on food safety

Whether honeydew melon, cinnamon stick or beef steak: by the time a food item reaches the supermarket shelf, it has often been transported across many national borders. What health risks need to be considered? How can these best be assessed and limited in the face of the global flow of goods? These are the questions being posed at the eighth annual "BfR Summer Academy", organised by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). From 12 to 23 August 2019, 37 scientists from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America will discuss risk assessment and risk communication in the field of food safety. "In times of globalisation, it is important to maintain an overview of and to improve global consumer health protection," says BfR President Professor Dr Dr Andreas Hensel. "At the Summer Academy, participants from many different countries are learning to work together in networks and understand more about risk assessment and risk communication."

The BfR Summer Academy should enable the scientists not only to prepare their own health-related risk assessments, but also to pass on this knowledge within their countries of origin. During the first week, the basics of assessing risks as well as an insight into the German and European legal framework are taught. The participants learn to communicate the extent and significance of a health risk in a user-friendly manner. A whole section is devoted to the question of how the intake of substances by humans is calculated and assessed. The second week will include workshops on the assessment of plant protection product residues and unwanted substances that have been added to food unintentionally.

The participants come from 20 countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Cape Verde, China, Georgia, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. They work mostly with government agencies dealing with food safety. The speakers include experts from the BfR, the Max Rubner Institute (MRI), the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

The BfR-Summer Academy plays its part in spreading the European system of health-related risk assessment worldwide and standardising practises internationally. This happens against the background that most countries import and export food and animal feed worldwide. At the same time, thanks to international commodity chains, food diversity is steadily increasing, leading to an increase in the requirements for the scientific assessment and communication of potential health risks in view of the global flow of goods. High European standards, regulations and knowledge of food quality, food safety and food hygiene are therefore of particular importance when it comes to making products safer that are traded globally.

The BfR-Summer Academy has been taking place since 2012. Since then, more than 200 scientists from more than 50 countries have participated in the training workshops.

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.

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

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