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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

ANSES presents its work programme for 2012

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News of 07/02/2012

7 February 2012

Every year, ANSES draws up a Work programme for the following twelve months as a part of its process of open consultation with supervisory ministries and stakeholders. For each of the Agency's major fields of competence, the programme is broken down into orientations, as published on its website. Together with presentation of its Work programme for 2012, ANSES takes the opportunity to report on the work carried out in 2011, particularly singling out the three issues on which it will be focussing in 2012:

1. Microbiological risks in food: the sudden emergence in Germany (and, to a lesser extent, in France in the spring of 2011) of an outbreak related to the contamination of plant products by the bacteria E. coli O104:H4 that affected more than 3500 people, or the recent episodes of contamination of plant products in the UK and the United States, call for greater vigilance regarding microbiological risks. In 2012, ANSES will be addressing this issue by concentrating on three key themes: (i) setting up the health component of the French Food Observatory for centralising all available data on microbiological and chemical hazards in foods; (ii) consumer information via publication of a guide covering all ANSES recommendations to consumers concerning food hygiene; and lastly (iii) research on ways of improving diagnostic methods and the surveillance of major and emerging foodborne pathogens.

2. Bee health: ANSES will use its full range of competences to combat the causes of bee mortality. This issue, which has become recurrent, is of considerable concern, present in varying degrees throughout the world but with what seem to be very complex origins, owing to multiple factors. The mandate it has recently acquired as European Union Reference Laboratory for bee health has given the Agency a central position on the subject. In 2012, within the framework of the French epidemiological surveillance partner platform, it will contribute to the development of an epidemiological surveillance system for bee diseases to determine the current state of bee health. At the same time, it will implement the new European regulations (which ANSES helped draft) for assessing the risks of plant protection products to bees, and, more generally, to the environment. Lastly, ANSES will set up, before September 2012, an Expert Group to study the effects of co-exposure of bees to both toxins and pathogens, with the possibility of issuing recommendations by 2014 for inclusion in the regulations.

3. Nanomaterials: among emerging risks, one of the most important challenges for health is the development of manufactured nanomaterials. On this subject, ANSES intends to set up the same type of structure as the one created for radiofrequencies in 2011. In 2012, the Agency will set up a permanent working group (WG) on “Nanomaterials and health - in food, the environment and at work” to monitor the latest scientific developments on this topic in real time. To mirror this WG, the Agency will also create a dialogue committee to enable stakeholders to participate in the ongoing scientific discussions, on the issues of exposure, risk assessment methodologies and current knowledge of health risks.

In 2012, ANSES will continue to pursue the priorities it had set for 2011, including the key issues studied last year such as antimicrobial resistance, assessing the risks faced by farm workers exposed to pesticides, contaminants in food, radiofrequencies and endocrine disruptors.

In addition, in 2011 the Agency set up its Commission for Ethical Standards and the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest, in advance of one of the requirements of the new French Act concerning the reforms to drugs and health products.

In 2012 ANSES will also finalise a new agreement with the government on its objectives and performance for 2012-2015 as well as continuing with its policy of open cooperation with players from civil society.

Find out more

> Press kit (pdf)

> Ethical Framework

> Work programme