Recognising and evaluating food risks - not only in Germany
On past Friday, the seventh BfR-Summer Academy organised by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment under the slogan "from experts to experts" came to an end. From 25 June to 6 July 2018, 40 experts from Asia, Europe and Latin America came together to discuss the topics of risk assessment and risk communication in the field of food safety. "Scientists from all over the world can exchange their views and experiences at the BfR-Summer Academy and expand their qualifications in the field of food safety," explains BfR President Professor Dr Dr Andreas Hensel. "Against the background of global goods flows, global networking of this kind is also of great importance to us".
The BfR-Summer Academy is intended to enable participants not only to conduct risk assessments by themselves but also to pass on this knowledge to others in their home countries. To this end, the fundamentals of the assessment of danger, exposure and risk were conveyed this year too, along with an insight into outline legal conditions in Germany and Europe. The contents comprised microbial risks, as well as the substantial risks that can emanate from foods. Separate workshops were dedicated to the risk assessment of contaminants, chemicals and endocrine disruptors, among other things, as well as questions of food hygiene. In the practical exercises, the experts gained experience of analytical challenges, such as the handling of data and scientific uncertainty. The participants learned how to communicate the extent and relevance of a health risk in a consumer-friendly manner.
The 40 participants came from 22 countries, including Brazil, China, Georgia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Most of them work in state institutions which are involved with the subject of food safety. The presenters work at the BfR, Max Rubner- Institute (MRI) and at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It was also possible to acquire the services of experts from the Dutch Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) and the British Royal Veterinary College at the University of London.
The BfR-Summer Academy has been taking place every year since 2012. The target group of the training measures are scientists from state organisations who are involved with the topics of food and feed safety. The training is intended to provide impetus to applying and passing on the acquired qualifications and knowledge in participants' home countries. In addition to an intensive exchange of professional ideas and experience, the BfR-Summer Academy provides the opportunity to build up an international network.
About the BfR
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent 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.
This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.