Navigation and service

Range of duties

Bild einer Apfelhälfte

The aim of the BVL is to improve coordination of consumer health protection between the federal government and the federal states, to make the communication of risks more transparent and to manage risks before they turn into crises.

Worldwide flow of goods also pose risks due to a lack of information about manufacture and processing. The BVL supports new EU Member States and third countries in setting up and developing an efficient food surveillance system. In order to minimise risks, the BVL puts an emphasis on dialogue with industry. Using flexible management instruments leads in many cases to better results than by means of limit values and bans.

As a scientific specialist authority with a wide range of duties, the BVL relies on extensive scientific knowledge of great subject depth. In order to process the constant increase in knowledge and information, the BVL uses electronic file handling systems and intelligent databases, with which the data available can be saved and internal and external information can be evaluated in a practical way.

The BVL champions critical and responsible consumers. With an extensive internet service, a wide range of publications and transparent public relations the BVL contributes to enable consumers to make independent decisions.

Food

The BVL contributes to food safety in Germany by taking various measures. It issues approvals and coordinates monitoring programmes together with the federal states. As part of the European rapid alert system, the BVL is a national point of contact for the flow of information between the EU and the federal states. It supports the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) with crisis management and assists in EU and third-country inspections in Germany.

Cosmetics, textiles and toys

For all products that come into contact with food or with the body, as well as toys, cosmetics and tobacco products, the BVL undertakes the coordination of certain monitoring tasks. In addition, the BVL lists pesticides that are allowed to be used for official measures in an enforcement procedure.

Feed

The BVL is involved in approving feed additives and diet feed by examining and evaluating motions. In addition, the BVL administrates the register of certified and/or registered feed companies and the register of border posts determined for the import of certain feeds. The BVL contributes towards the coordination of the National Control Programme for Feed Safety and coordinates the EU-wide feed testing and survey programmes in Germany.

Plant protection products

The BVL is responsible for approving plant protection products in Germany and is the national coordination point for evaluating active substances of plant protection products in the EU. In the approval procedure, the BVL is responsible for risk management, which is designed to avoid negative effects of plant protection products for people and the environment.

Veterinary drugs

The BVL is responsible for approving veterinary drugs and participating in EU approval procedures in Germany. If approved veterinary drugs produce unwanted effects, the pharmaceutical companies are required to report this to the BVL. In addition, the BVL studies the current antibiotic resistance of bacteria that occur in food-producing livestock and develops measures that counteract the development of resistance.

Genetic engineering

The release of genetically modified organisms (GMO) for scientific trials must be approved by the BVL. If GMOs are to be cultivated for commercial purposes, the BVL gives its opinion as the national authority in the EU's approval procedure. The BVL is the officeof the Central Commission for Biological Safety, which advises the federal government and the federal states. In addition, the BVL manages the international information exchange for Germany on live GMOs in the Biosafety Clearing House.

Laboratories

In order to achieve uniform standards of food control in the European Union, national and EU reference laboratories work together in a network, within which they coordinate projects, share information and give each other support. One European and eight national reference laboratories for certain residues and contaminants as well as resistance monitoring of animal pathogens are located at the BVL. The official laboratories are an important stepping stone in the quest for uniformly high food safety standards.

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© 2018 Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety