The Danish system for food safety and nutrition

After a series of changes throughout the 90’s and 00’s the Danish food safety and nutrition system is now divided in a clear separation of risk assessment and risk management.

This means that risk management is located in the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, while the scientific risk assessment and the research based assessment of monitoring data are located at The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

This separation helps to ensure independence in the scientific description of problems and solutions as well as efficiency and research background in the public-sector consultancy. The system is thus transparent and efficient.

The new location within one of the new large Danish universities, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), has contributed to strengthen the research capabilities at the National Food Institute.

The Institute conducts research in microbiological and chemical risk assessment, and in food production and nutrition. The approach to food is thus holistic and includes both knowledge about production practices and knowledge about positive and negative aspects of our food.

This knowledge about the negative aspects of chemical substances in food (toxicology) means that the Institute advises other government agencies with interests in the chemical field. In particular the Environmental Protection Agency, which receive research-based advice on hazardous substances in the environment. The Institute thus assists widely in the overall considerations of chemicals effects on health from all relevant sources, food and environment.

Research at National Food Institute is acknowledged nationally as well as internationally. The institute is a WHO Collaborating Centre in several areas, and has a number of EU reference laboratories. Several employees at the institute also participate as experts in EU (EFSA) and WHO/FAO committees.