BfR Annual Report 2013 - page 10

BfR | Annual Report 2013
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) was set up in November 2002 to strengthen consumer health
protection. It is the scientific agency of the Federal Republic of Germany which is responsible for preparing
expert reports and opinions on food and feed safety as well as on the safety of chemicals and products. In this
context, the Institute plays an important role in improving consumer protection and food safety. In its assess-
ments and recommendations, the BfR is free from economic, political and social interests, and it provides its
information in a way that can be easily understood by the public.
Objectives and Mission
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, or BfR for
short, is an independent scientific research institution
which prepares around one hundred reports and opin-
ions every day outlining the health risks of food and feed,
consumer products and chemicals. The institute commu-
nicates its findings and recommendations to the policy
makers and the public at large. The federal government
uses the opinions of the BfR as a basis for ensuring con-
sumer health protection. Set up in 2002, the BfR today
employs a staff of about 770 in nine departments at three
locations in Berlin.
The tasks of the BfR include the assessment of existing
and the identification of new health risks, the drawing up
of recommendations on risk reduction, and the commu-
nication of this process. The results of its work serve as
the basis for scientific advice to the relevant federal min-
istries and other agencies, for instance the Federal Office
of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) and the
Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(BAuA). The work results and recommendations of the BfR
serve all interested parties as an important decision-mak-
ing aid for taking the necessary measures. With its scien-
tifically based risk assessment activities, the BfR provides
important stimuli for consumer health protection both in
Germany and abroad.
In its risk assessment and research work, the BfR is ad-
vised by a network of scientific experts made up of com-
mittees and the Scientific Advisory Board. As the central
national contact or Focal Point of the European Food
Safety Authority (EFSA), the BfR is also integrated into
European consumer protection.
Position in the field of
consumer health protection
The BfR was founded as a federal agency with legal ca-
pacity within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food
and Agriculture (BMEL). Its tasks result, amongst other
things, from the Act establishing the BfR which was en-
acted in conjunction with the reorganisation of consumer
health protection and food safety in Germany in 2002.
The legislative has also defined the work activities of the
institute in ten further laws – including the German Plant
Protection Act, the German Genetic Engineering Act, the
German Food and Feed Code, and the Chemicals Act.
In a federal system like in Germany, the responsibility for
consumer health protection falls to the Federal Govern-
ment and the federal states. Laws and ordinances de-
signed to promote consumer health protection are en-
acted by the German Government and the Parliament.
The BfR advises the federal ministries on the preparation
of legal regulations. It assesses health risks in a scientific
process and outlines options for action to minimise risks.
These recommendations are translated into protective
measures for the consumer by management action on
national level.
Many statutory provisions for consumer protection are
now laid down on the European level. BfR is also involved
in the elaboration of European provisions for consumer
protection. Its experts sit on numerous scientific advisory
bodies of the EU.
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