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Symposium on “Prevention by Information”

BVL and JRC host two-day conference on early recognition of food-borne crises

Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) in sprouts, norovirus in strawberries, horse meat in lasagna. While food-borne outbreaks of disease and other food crises are fairly rare, they keep happening. How can we avoid them? How can we obtain, from information collected along the food chain, useful knowledge to improve the protection of consumers? These are questions to be investigated at the symposium entitled “Challenges 2017: Prevention by Information” to be hosted by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, BVL) together with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Berlin on 27 and 28 October 2016.

The first part of the symposium will provide a platform for representatives of consumer NGOs, government bodies and market research institutes to analyse and discuss possible preventive and information measures benefitting the interests of consumers. This part will also address the question of what consumers expect from risk and crisis communication.

Irregularities in the food chain are sometimes recognised through information obtained within the framework of official food surveillance. Still, a comprehensive early recognition and assessment of the potential for a crisis to unfold requires adequate sources of information. The second part of the symposium will, therefore, present early-warning systems in Germany and the other European Union Member States, as well as industrial initiatives to this end.

Finally, during the third part of the symposium, national and international experts will highlight the question of how the findings of national food controls and controls in international food trade can be used to detect food fraud, and derive preventive measures.

The symposium will not only place emphasis on international exchange, but also on the interdisciplinary exchange. The evening event at a typical Berlin restaurant on 27 October will provide a further occasion for more in-depth discussions.

“Challenges 2017: Prevention by Information”
on 27 and 28 October 2016
in Ludwig-Erhard-Haus
Fasanenstraße 85, 10623 Berlin

More information on the conference programme, can be found on the BVL website This site also provides a link to register for the symposium from 10 August 2016.

The symposium “Challenges 2017: Prevention by Information” is part of a series of BVL conferences where experts discuss the challenges of the coming year before a background of topics that are changing annually. This 2016 conference is co-organised for the first time with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) ( As the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the JRC supports European policy by providing independent scientific advice.

Note to journalists

The symposium is open to journalists from the various media. You may register simply by e-mail to the BVL press department:, stating your forename and family name, editorial office, address, telephone number and e-mail address.

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