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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

ANSES celebrates its 5-year anniversary and inaugurates its new headquarters

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News of 07/07/2015

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), created by the merger, in 2010, of the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) and the French Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (AFSSET), is today celebrating its fifth anniversary. It is an excellent opportunity to look back on the events that have made ANSES the largest health and safety agency in Europe, in terms of its broad mandate, cutting across the areas of human, animal and plant health. This anniversary also coincides with the inauguration of its new headquarters, the Copernic building, in the presence of Marisol Touraine, Minister of Health, Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture and Martine Pinville, Secretary of State for consumer affairs.


The creation of ANSES, in 2010, marked a step forward for the existing expert assessment schemes, in terms of its integrative approach to risk assessment, closer to the reality of the risks to which we are exposed every day, whether as workers, consumers or citizens. Its original system of governance, committed to greater openness to stakeholders from all social groups, also ensures that the Agency is attentive to society's expectations and concerns, alert to weak signals and emerging risks, and that it allows the involvement of all interested parties. At the same time, its strengthened ethical framework strives to guarantee independent scientific expert assessment.

ANSES today celebrates its 5-year anniversary. Since 2010, more than 20,000 opinions, studies, reports and decisions have been published, in response to formal requests from ministries and stakeholders, and to internal requests, or for the authorisation of regulated products (veterinary medicinal products, plant inputs, biocides).

ANSES has moreover demonstrated the ability of its reference and research laboratories to respond to crisis situations, such as in June 2011 during the episode of foodborne illnesses linked to the E. coli bacterium in Germany and France, and then in late 2011, during the emergence of the Schmallenberg virus that affected French ruminant herds.

The Agency today proposes a review of the major events and expert appraisal, research and reference activities that have marked its first five years. ANSES has been particularly vigilant with respect to such issues as GMOs, asbestos, endocrine disruptors, radiofrequencies, nanotechnologies, bee health, and the risks associated with the consumption of food supplements and new products.

On 1 July 2015, it was entrusted with new missions: the issuing of marketing authorisations for plant protection products, fertilisers, growing media and adjuvants, as well as the establishment of a phytopharmacovigilance scheme. The Agency intends to ensure that the broadening of its missions will provide new leverage to achieve better protection of health and the environment.

The celebration of this anniversary coincides with the inauguration of the Agency's new headquarters, the Copernic building. This move to a permanent building has great meaning for ANSES, and its location in the heart of the campus of the Alfort National Veterinary School symbolises the Agency's history and reinforces synergies with the veterinary school, by pooling some services and developing scientific cooperation.


Copernic, a name full of meaning

Associating Copernicus (“Copernic” in French) with the name of the new ANSES headquarters has deep meaning in view of the legacy he left behind. Copernicus urged scientists and researchers to break free from their prejudices, and the influence of the system formulated by this great scientist extends to all areas of human knowledge.