Further expansion of cooperation between Germany and Portugal in the field of the early identification of health risks and risk assessment
Germany and Portugal intend to intensify their cooperation in the field of scientific research into food safety. An agreement to this effect was signed on 19 October 2015 by the Portuguese Authority for Economic and Food Safety (ASAE) and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Berlin. "In view of the rapid growth in the trading of food across national borders, international cooperation in the field of health risk assessment is essential. With this new cooperation agreement, we want to cooperate even more closely with our Portuguese partners in future in order to react at the earliest possible stage - and not only when crisis situations occur," said BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel when the agreement was signed. "The cooperation agreement enables us to further expand the capacities of the ASAE for risk assessment with regard to the worldwide market. This cooperation will help us to jointly develop new projects in the field of food safety, also and in particular together with countries in the Portuguese-speaking world," added ASAE General Inspector Pedro Gaspar at the signing ceremony.
The aim of the agreement is to exchange new methods and data in the field of food screening. Screening methods can identify risks resulting from the intake of contaminants, residues and other undesirable substances in food and feed. There are plans to conduct joint research projects to investigate the safety of foods along the entire food chain.
The cooperation agreement provides for the staging of join seminars and workshops. A two-day scientific workshop on the topic of food safety has already been scheduled for the spring of 2016 in Lisbon together with other Portuguese-speaking countries. Moreover, the BfR Summer Academy will also serve to promote exchange between the two institutions on expert level. The BfR Summer Academy has taken place annually since 2012. The target group for the further training courses are scientists from government organisations active in the field of food and feed safety. The Academy not only provides a forum for exchange between experts but is also an excellent opportunity for networking.
As a subsidiary authority of the Ministry of Economy and Employment (MME), the ASAE is responsible for risk assessment, risk communication and risk management in the area of food safety. The remit of the ASAE also extends to plant protection, animal health and animal welfare.
The cooperation agreement with the ASAE is the latest in a series of cooperation agreements signed by the BfR with the aim of promoting food safety throughout Europe and worldwide. BfR has, for example, already entered into bilateral agreements on the exchange of scientific information with its Chinese, Brazilian and French sister authorities among others, and the international network is to be expanded further in future. You can find an overview of all the cooperation agreements on the BfR website: http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/european_and_international_co_operations-10361.html
About the BfR
The German 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.