BfR and Afssa sign cooperation agreement

On 25 May 2009 the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the French Food Safety Agency signed a cooperation agreement. The goal of this French-German cooperation is to further strengthen and increase the effectiveness of joint activities in the field of food safety on the European level as well. "We would like to build up a strong network of risk assessment experts in our two institutions and, in so doing, facilitate the rapid exchange of scientific expertise," said BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel at the signing ceremony of the agreement in Paris, "We and our French colleagues will benefit equally from the joint use of these resources". Madame Pascale Briand, Director General of Afssa added, "Afssa and BfR have the same goals and missions. Hence, we wish to speed up the flow of in-depth scientific information not only amongst scientists but also in the direction of policy makers and consumers. This is even more important in crisis situations." On the occasion of the signing of the agreement a delegation of proven BfR experts visited the French sister institution.

German BfR and French Afssa have similar assignments and comparable structures. Both institutions face similar problems and have adopted comparable approaches to scientific risk assessment. Hence, cooperation within a common structural framework is a logical step.

The agreement makes possible the establishment of official cooperation between Afssa and BfR in the field of scientific risk assessment, research and technical/administrative collaboration in these areas. To this end, each institution will initially set up a working group which will be responsible for coordinating the bilateral activities. The two working groups will meet once a year to discuss joint projects and activities for the following year and also evaluate the progress of current activities. The main activities planned are:

  • Collaboration between (reference) laboratories, research units and experts
  • Ongoing exchange of the latest scientific findings in the area of food safety
  • Joint training of experts in the various work areas of food safety
  • Mutual exchange of information and strategic documents on research programmes
  • Mutual exchange of information on expert meetings of their respective institutions

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