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Foodborne outbreaks and Zoonoses

Foodborne Outbreaks (FBO)

System in place for monitoring and reporting of foodborne outbreaks

In Germany, information on foodborne outbreaks are reported via two parallel systems. The public health authorities in the German Federal States (Länder) are reporting to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), while since 2015 the food and veterinary authorities of the Länder are reporting to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). From 2005 to 2014 this system was run by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). The surveillance of infectious diseases in humans is regulated by the „Protection against Infection Act“ (Infektionsschutzgesetz) that came into effect in 2001. It assigns the task to compile, evaluate and analyse notification data on human infections at the national level to the RKI. Laboratories are required to report acute infections caused by notifiable pathogens to the local public health office, and physicians are required to report suspected or verified cases of notifiable communicable diseases. Outbreak reporting is integrated into the notification system. In addition to the infectious disease reporting system of the RKI, a reporting system collecting detailed information on foodborne outbreaks and related foodstuff is provided by BVL, which covers foodborne outbreaks caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins. Through this reporting system information from the local food and veterinary authorities, which cooperate with the local public health offices is forwarded directly or via the Länder authorities to BVL following the outbreak investigation. The information on foodborne outbreaks gathered by the two national systems are combined and reported to EFSA.

Zoonoses Monitoring

The Zoonoses Monitoring is a programme collecting, analysing and publishing representative data on the occurrence of zoonotic agents and related antibiotic resistance in food, feed and live animals.
The general administrative regulation on the gathering, analysing and publishing of data about the occurrence of zoonoses and zoonotic agents along the food chain (“AVV Zoonosen Lebensmittelkette”) forms the foundation of zoonotic monitoring. This general administrative regulation is based on Directive 2003/99/EC on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents.

The study results obtained by the Laender (Germanay’s states) as part of the Zoonoses Monitoring are reported to the central BVL notification point. The BVL gathers the data, analyses it and publishes it in an annual report on the results of Zoonoses Monitoring. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) assesses the study results and transmits these to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

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