Working with India to improve food safety
The goal of the newly signed cooperation agreement between the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is to promote the worldwide harmonisation of scientific concepts for food safety. The focal point of the agreement signed on 5 October 2015 in New Delhi is the in-depth exchange of scientific and technical know-how on expert level. "There are sometimes major differences around the world with regard to health assessments, particularly when it comes to plant protection products and their active substances," said BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel during the signing of the agreement. "Together with India, we want to further extend the international standards in this area."
The most important topics for future cooperation include the health assessment of active substances and plant protection products as well as the definition of safe maximum residue levels for plant protection products in food. According to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany is India's most important trading partner in the EU. Alongside textiles, chemical products, electrotechnology, metal goods and leather, India's main exports to Germany also include agricultural and fish products. Residues of pesticides in food products will therefore be one of the focal points of the closer cooperation in the future - with the aim of further improving food safety in the cross-border exchange of goods. In Germany, the BfR is responsible for the health risk assessment of plant protection products and plays a key role in the ongoing development of testing guidelines and assessment concepts for plant protection products and multiple residues.
The cooperation agreement provides for scientific and technical cooperation in the field of laboratories, data management and risk communication. Exchange visits between employees in the two countries will help to ensure fast and effective sharing of knowledge and expertise. The insights and know-how resulting from the cooperation of the two institutions is to be communicated both in scientific circles and vis-à-vis the public at large.
The FSSAI reports to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and is responsible for regulating and monitoring food safety in India. Its remit includes not only the definition of standards and guidelines in the field of food safety but also the provision of scientific advice to India's central government and federal states.
This new cooperation agreement further expands the international cooperation network of the BfR. The BfR already has multiple bilateral agreements for scientific information exchange around the world with partners such as its sister authorities in China, Russia and Brazil.
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.