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Codex Contact Point
Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, (BMEL) Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Division 314, Wilhelmstr. 54 10117 Berlin Tel: +49 (0)30 18529 3515
E-mail: [email protected]
National legislation on food safety: FAOLEX

Competent authorities

Name of authority
In Germany, consumer protection laws are enacted at federal level, however, implementation and control is the responsibility of the 16 federal states (i. e. at regional level). The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is responsible for agricultural policy and food safety. In the field of food safety the BMEL prepares draft legislation and issues ordinances. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a specialist authority within the portfolio of the BMEL. It contributes to the enforcement of legislation by undertaking statutory risk assessments and advises political circles. On management issues, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) undertakes preparatory work for the BMEL. Germany consists of 16 federal states, with large individual differences with regard to the size of each state (between 1 and 20 million inhabitants per state). The 16 federal states of Germany are, in principle, responsible for implementation of the food law. Implementation of food and feed safety is therefore the responsibility of the federal states. In this task the federal states are independent, i. e. not bound by instructions of the federal government. The appropriate ministry in each federal state coordinates and supervises control and inspection activities in this area. To ensure comparable procedures in all 16 federal states, the federal states coordinate their activities mainly in working groups in which the federal level is also involved. Distributed throughout all federal states there are 430 food inspection authorities and approximately 35 food surveillance laboratories. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is responsible for food safety risks caused by environmental contaminants, introduced into air, water or soil via human activity. The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) support the work of the BMU as the competent specialist authorities in its portfolio. Effective environmental protection contributes to the production of healthy, largely uncontaminated food. The BMEL is responsible for the other areas of food safety. The BfR and BVL, the competent specialist authorities in this area, support the BMEL and BMU in the field of food safety.
Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) The BfR's remit encompasses scientifically based risk assessments as part of administrative procedures, for instance marketing authorisations for plant protection products, and policy advice. The BfR risk assessments are used by the BMEL, BMU and regional/local public authorities as the basis for management measures. Without being influenced by scientific, political or social interests, the BfR has the task of assessing risks, identifying new health risks and drawing up risk minimisation recommendations. In this context, the BfR draws on the support of 15 independent expert committees with around 200 committee members overall. In its capacity as a scientific body, the BfR enjoys independence in respect of the results of its opinions, and prepares expert reports on risk assessment. The BfR's remit includes novel foods and food ingredients, feed, residues of plant protection products and veterinary medicinal products, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), food supplements, zoonoses, food contact materials and mineral waters. Other main areas of its work are research and transparent communication with the public at large, scientific circles and other stakeholders. 13 National Reference Laboratories are attached to the BfR pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2017/625. In addition to food safety, the BfR is also responsible for risk assessments in the area of safety of consumer products, cosmetics, biocides and chemicals (REACH). The BfR also collects notifications of intoxication caused by chemicals. Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) The main focus of the BVL is on risk management. In the field of food safety the BVL supports the cooperation between the BMEL, BMU and the federal states. Together with the federal states, the BVL coordinates programmes for inspection and control of food to ensure comparable results and procedures in all 16 federal states of Germany. The BVL is the regulatory authority for novel foods and food ingredients, plant protection products and veterinary medicinal products. In its decision-making process the BVL normally draws on BfR risk assessments. Based on risk assessments by other authorities, the BVL decides on applications for the experimental scientific cultivation of genetically modified plants. Furthermore, the BVL is involved in the EU marketing authorisation of GMOs in food and feed. Four National Reference Laboratories are attached to the BVL pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2017/625. Robert Koch Institute (RKI) The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is a federal institute within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG). The RKI is responsible for the identification, prevention and control of diseases, especially infectious diseases. The tasks at the RKI include the legal obligation to compile scientific findings as a basis for political decisions concerning health issues. The RKI provides information and advice to the competent federal ministries – especially the BMG – and to the general public.
INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point
The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) was nominated as the German INFOSAN emergency contact point.

Food safety and consumer protection – laws and regulations

The current list of legislation, related to food safety and consumer protection in each country, is extracted from FAO's database on Food Legislation FAOLEX.
While FAOLEX makes every effort to serve as a high quality, reliable source of information, no guarantee is given that the information provided in FAOLEX is correct, complete, and up-to-date.

The national Codex programme

National Codex consultative mechanism
Competences and procedures on the national level have not changed since the 30th Session of CCEURO. The German Codex Contact Point (CCP) is located in the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The CCP circulates information from the Codex Secretariat within the Federal Government, forwards information to competent authorities in the federal states (Länder) and to stakeholders interested in the matters concerned. Germany encourages the participation of stakeholders from all interested circles in Codex meetings. Representatives of the Länder, from science, the industry and consumer organizations are regularly invited to participate in Codex meetings as members of the German delegation. BMEL informs interested parties about important Codex activities on its website and holds preparatory briefing meetings at regular intervals up to the sessions of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as well as specialized Codex Committees.
Providers of scientific and technical input to national consultation on Codex
Institutions involved in the EFSA network pursuant to Article 36 Reg. (EC) No. 178/2002: 1. Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) 2. Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) 3. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) 4. Robert Koch Institute (RKI) 5. Julius Kuhn Institute (JKI) 6. Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) 7. Max-Rubner-Institute (MRI) 8. German Nutrition Society 9. Federal Environment Agency (UBA) Scientific and technical input has also been provided by Industry and NGOs .

Risk Assessments and Scientific Data

National bodies providing risk assessment and scientific advice
Please refer to answer to question 5.
Risk assessment, risk profiles, scientific opinions
Please refer to the following websites:
Official Laboratory
Official Competence

Surveillance of foodborne diseases and monitoring of food contamination

National surveillance systems – foodborne disease in humans
Germany has a system for collecting data on foods that are involved in disease outbreaks called ‘BELA’. BELA is operated and maintained by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). The aim of BELA is the nationwide collection of data on outbreaks of foodborne. Data is reported by the competent control authorities of the Länder (Federal States). BVL and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) provide annual reports on the findings to foodborne disease outbreaks in Germany based on the collected data. Further information (in German language only) - including the reporting forms used can be found here:
National monitoring systems – foodborne hazards in the food chain
Data collected by the official control authorities of the Federal States (Länder) in risk-based official controls. Data collection is centralized on national level only due to reporting commitments at EU-level or to the following national control plans: ­ National Monitoring Plan (NMP) agreed among the Länder and established for one year, concerning official inspections to monitor compliance with food, wine and tobacco regulations, including protection against fraud. ­ Multi-annual National Control Programme for Pesticide Residues in and on Food of Plant and Animal Origin a control plan drawn up on a joint Länder basis for a three-year cycle. The objective is to carry out official controls in order to ensure that pesticide residues remaining in or on food of plant or animal origin do not present an unacceptable health risk; the controls are aimed at assessing consumer exposure and compliance with legislation. ­ Import Control Plan monitoring plan for BIPs on the basis of the MNP. ­ Zoonoses Monitoring a programme for monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic agents and zoonotic and other pathogens which pose a health risk: ­ Monitoring Programme for Food, Cosmetic Products and Food Contact Materials aimed at collecting representative data on undesirable substances in foodstuffs, cosmetic products and food contact materials and consists of two parts: shopping-basket monitoring; and project monitoring, on selected issues, carried out on the basis of proposals from the Federal Government or the Länder: ­ Residue Monitoring Plan is implemented by the Länder within the framework of official monitoring of food and veterinary medicine.