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Who does what? Reference book gives an overview of the food safety institutions in Europe

35/2021, 11.08.2021

The 5th edition of the BfR's “EU Food Safety Almanac” has been pub-lished in English

How is food and feed safety organised in Europe? Which institutions exist in the respective countries?  And what are they responsible for? The reference work “EU Food Safety Almanac” by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) provides an up-to-date overview of the responsibilities of the key players in 37 European countries. “With the new edition of the Almanac, we are making an important contribution to networking the institutions responsible for consumer health protection with the EU,” says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, BfR President and German member of the Advisory Forum of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The globalization of food production and trade provides consumers in Europe with an ever increasing choice of products. However, with the growing supply from all over the world, the requirements for scientific assessment, necessary measures and communication of possible health risks are increasing at the same time. “We need stronger international cooperation in order to ensure the safety of food and feed along such complex supply chains,” emphasises Hensel.

Each country has a different approach in regards to food safety – institutions and responsibilities vary, and in many countries new institutions have been set up in recent years. The EU Almanac provides a comprehensive overview of the administrative structures and governmental institutions that ensure food and feed safety in the European Union and neighbouring countries. The focus is on the assessment of health risks: Each country chapter contains an overview of the respective responsible institutions as well as a brief description of the legal bases, tasks and activities.

The responsibilities are shown graphically using pictograms. This makes it quick and easy to see which institution is responsible for which area – for example plant protection products, food supplements, novel foods or zoonoses. At the same time, readers learn which ministries and institutions exist in the area of ??risk management, how the countries communicate health risks to the outside world and to what extent risk assessment and risk management are institutionally separated. A summary list also provides a practical overview of all central institutions.

The 5th edition of the “EU Food Safety Almanac” is available in English at first. The new edition comprises 37 country profiles, which the BfR has created and updated in cooperation with EFSA and the EFSA Focal Points in the respective member states and neighbouring countries. The brochure contains information on all member states of the European Union and the neighbouring countries Iceland, Norway and Switzerland as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

The Almanac is aimed at anyone who would like to find out more about structures and institutions in the field of food safety – especially employees of supervisory authorities, the media, consumer associations, representatives of the food industry, science and politics. It is available free of charge as a PDF on the BfR website at the following link and can also be ordered free of charge as a booklet:

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 German federal government and German federal states ("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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