Food safety risks on the agenda of the EFSA meeting in Helsinki

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 18.9.2019 13.44
Press release

During the meeting, the Finnish Food Authority will present its risk assessment activities to the Advisory Forum of the European Food Safety Authority EFSA. Comprehensive discussions will be held on topical food safety issues, including new details relating to the assessment of the effects of combined exposure to multiple chemicals. The meeting in Helsinki on 18–19 September 2019 will be chaired by Bernhard Url, Executive Director of EFSA.

“The strength of Europe’s food safety systems is rooted in scientific cooperation between the EU and the national authorities. An indispensable ingredient for successful cooperation is trust. And the Advisory Forum is the place where this trust is built and maintained. I am very pleased that this meeting is being held in Helsinki during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union,” says Bernhard Url.

Finland’s representative at the Advisory Forum meeting is Pia Mäkelä, Director General of the Food Chain Division of the Finnish Food Authority.  Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Jaana Husu-Kallio is the Chair of the Management Board of EFSA.

“The Finnish Presidency’s motto, ‘Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future’, is truly embedded in EFSA’s core values: scientific excellence, independence, openness, innovation and cooperation. Science forms the basis of food safety within the EU, and I am very proud of this approach and process,” says Jaana Husu-Kallio.

Risk assessments by the Food Safety Authority support food trade

The Finnish Food Authority conducts scientific assessments concerning risks that may pose a threat to human, animal or plant health. The purpose of risk assessments is to meet the needs we have in Finland so that the control of food safety, animal diseases and plant pests can be targeted as effectively as possible. Risk assessments are carried out in accordance with internationally agreed guidelines on the basis of scientific evidence.

In recent years, especially investigations of risks associated with salmonella have required a lot of work at Finnish Food Safety Agency. This is highly important in terms of Finland’s foreign trade. For example, fresh meat may not be imported to Finland unless it has been proven not to contain salmonella. Other risk assessments currently under way are concerned with e.g. antimicrobial resistance, food-related chemical risks, import of dogs, and potato cyst nematode.

EFSA Advisory Forum identifies risks

The Advisory Forum brings together the activities of EFSA and national food safety authorities. Through the Forum, EFSA and the Member States can join forces in addressing food risk assessments within Europe and in improving risk communication.

One of the main tasks of the Forum is to identify emerging food safety risks as early as possible. Members also use the Forum to give their opinion on EFSA's scientific activities, work programme and operational priorities. 

EFSA’s Advisory Forum comprises representatives of the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. Meetings are also attended by observers from Switzerland and the EU Candidate Countries. Each Food Safety Authority is responsible for risk assessments concerning the national food chain, but the practices may vary by country.

The meeting is part of the official programme of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The meeting to be held in Finland is the 73rd meeting of EFSA Advisory Forum.

Inquiries

EFSA
Bernhard Url, Executive Director, tel. +39 0521 036 397

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary (Chair of the Management Board of EFSA), tel. +358 295 16 2184

Finnish Food Authority
Pia Mäkelä, Director General of the Food Chain Division (Finland’s representative at the EFSA Advisory Forum), tel. +358 50 448 1302
Kirsi-Maarit Siekkinen, Research Scientist (Finland’s contact person in the Focal Points network),
tel. +358 40 489 3376
Pirkko Tuominen, Head of Unit, +358 40 021 1624

Agenda of the meeting: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/events/event/190918
EFSA Advisory Forum: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/partnersnetworks/eumembers 
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU website: https://eu2019.fi/etusivu

Risk assessment at the Finnish Food Authority
FI: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/yhteisot/riskinarviointi/
SE: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/sv/sammanslutningar/riskvardering/
EN: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/en/organisations/risk-assessment/

Administration EU and international affairs Food and agriculture