Reports

Safe Food: Increased food safety in Iceland / Örugg Matvæli: Increased food safety in Iceland

Published:

22/12/2014

Authors:

Roland Körber, Hrönn Ólína Jörundsdóttir, Margrét Björk Sigurðardóttir, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir

Supported by:

The Ministry of Industry and Innovation, The German state

Safe Food: Increased food safety in Iceland / Örugg Matvæli: Increased food safety in Iceland

It is necessary for Iceland to have adequate capacity and infrastructure so that the government and official regulators have the capacity to monitor food safety in accordance with international standards and regulations. The project "Safe Food" was a bilateral project between Iceland and Germany and its main purpose was to increase food security in Iceland and protect consumers with regard to food safety and wholesomeness in the Icelandic market. The project was carried out in collaboration between Matís, Matvælastofnun (MAST) and the Ministry of Industry and Innovation in Iceland and the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture as well as key institutions in the field of food safety in Germany, ie the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection. and Food Safety (LAVES). To improve the infrastructure in Iceland, specialized diagnostic equipment for food safety research was purchased through an open tender and installed in Matís' facilities in Reykjavík. A German consultant was located in Iceland for 6 months to provide professional knowledge in the field of food safety that was necessary for the progress of the project as well as to coordinate work in the project. German experts from BfR and LAVES came to Matís and Matvælastofnun to train the experts of these institutions in procedures that were defined as priorities in the field of chemical analysis and official supervision in the field of food safety. Introductory meetings were also held to inform the main stakeholders in Iceland about the progress of the project and to increase their awareness of the importance of food safety in the entire production and food chain. By the end of the project, Icelandic specialists had been trained in work processes in specific priority areas for monitoring and chemical analysis in the field of food safety. The project has therefore contributed to both improved research facilities and the capacity of both Icelandic institutions in terms of sampling and chemical analysis of important food safety aspects such as monitoring of plant pesticide residues and undesirable substances in food and feed.

To ensure a high level of protection for human health and consumers' interest in relation to food safety, it is essential that Iceland has the appropriate infrastructures to carry out inspections and official controls of food products in line with the requirements of European food legislation. A bilateral project between Iceland and Germany was established and carried out in 2014 to assist Iceland to achieve this goal. The objective of the project was to strengthen Iceland's ability to ensure food safety and protect consumer interests in relation to food safety. The bilateral project was carried out in collaboration between Matís, Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) and the Ministry of Industries and Innovations in Iceland from the Icelandic side and the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES) from the German side. The laboratory infrastructure for food safety analysis in Iceland wasimproved by procuring new laboratory equipment through an open tender process and installing them at Matísfacilities in Reykjavík. A German Resident Advisor resided in Iceland for 6 months to provide the necessary professional experience in areas of food safety covered by the project and coordinate the project activities. German experts from BfR and LAVES came to Matís and MAST to train experts of these institutes in procedures identified as priority analytical and official control proceduresto ensure food safety in Iceland. A number of stakeholder events were also carried out to inform key stakeholders of project activities and increase their awareness of importance of food safety in the entire food chain. At the end of the project the majority of the priority procedures were implemented at the Icelandic institutes and the Icelandic experts that participated in the project were well informed and trained. The project has therefore contributed significantly to the improvement of both institutional and laboratory capacity in Iceland concerning sampling and analysis in important areas such as monitoring for residues of plant protection products, contaminants in food and feed as well as genetically modified food and feed.

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