BfR and EFSA to make joint efforts to improve food safety in Europe
Against the background of increasing globalisation of food and feed production and new types of production, food safety can, in a common European market, no longer be guaranteed through national institutions alone. For this reason, institutions such as the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) closely cooperate with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other institutions within the member states of the European Union. “Only by joining forces can we tackle the tasks arising from international challenges”, said Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, on the occasion of the 6th German EFSA Focal Point Conference held at the BfR on 30 October 2014. “New challenges can only be overcome through joint efforts between the EU and its member states. With the aim of making more efficient use of the scientific expertise of individual member states, the EFSA has therefore drawn up a roadmap for international cooperation”, added Dr. Bernhard Url, Managing Director of the EFSA. He explained that the EFSA has, for example, created the Emerging Risks Exchange Network for newly emerging risks. This network collates and assesses insights gained in individual countries before communicating them to other member states.
The EFSA Focal Points of the EU member states as well as Iceland and Norway form a central instrument for a comprehensive and continuous exchange of insights and data on health risks posed by food and feed. Based at the BfR, the German EFSA Focal Point acts as a hub for all institutions and authorities in Germany concerned with food and feed safety as well as animal and plant health. Data, scientific insights and risk assessments generated by the BfR and other German institutions are passed on to the EFSA via Focal Point. From there, they reach the Focal Points of the other member states. Conversely, insights into food and feed-related risks from other EU member states are communicated to the BfR and hence to Germany via Focal Point. However, the Focal Points and individual EU countries also engage in direct exchange. This means that there is close cooperation in Europe on scientific risk assessment in the area of food and feed safety.
About the BfR
The 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.