The acting Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, María Luisa Carcedo, visited the National Food Center (CNA), dependent on the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), and has highlighted the high level of Spain in all aspects related to food safety, efforts recognized internationally.
"I would like to inform you that food safety is a basic aspect in the protection of people's health, and that this is a task in which the General State Administration, through AESAN, works intensively in international areas (EU, Codex ) and in a coordinated manner with the rest of the administrations, especially the autonomous communities, "the minister indicated.
In addition to the 576,736 inspections and official audits carried out in these establishments, in 2018, 113,501 analyzes were carried out on food products and 177,229 controls on labeling and consumer information on products offered for sale.
In Spain, the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition, created in 2010, is responsible for ensuring the safety of food. In this way, it coordinates and plans the National Plan of Official Control of the Food Chain.
On the other hand, the autonomous communities have the competences in the execution of official controls, inspections of food establishments, sampling and analysis of food. The entire system is supervised by the European Commission.
Of all these tasks are the official inspectors of public health of establishments and the workers of the public laboratories that carry out the analytics required by the food regulations.
In total, some 7,000 management professionals in Spain control the food chain in all its phases, from primary production to points of sale to the consumer.
The minister explained that, when breaches are detected, the inspectors adopt the necessary measures to prevent the access of consumers to unsafe products, and may even close the establishment.
If the detected risk requires it, because, for example, it may affect the health of the consumers, an alert is generated that is processed through the National Alert Network, the EU Food Alert Network or, even, of the Warning Network of the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
"All the countries of the EU have the same rules," said the minister. "The standards of food safety and controls are harmonized in all countries of the Union, which allows the free movement of food and the same protection against the food security of all citizens of the European Union," he said.
National Food Center
The minister made these statements during the visit to the National Food Center (CNA), under the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), which this year celebrates its 45th anniversary.
The act was also attended by the Secretary General of Health and Consumption, Faustino Blanco, and the executive director of AESAN, Marta García.
The CNA is a National Reference Laboratory and promoter of the Network of Food Safety Laboratories, of which 107 laboratories are appointed in Spain to carry out the analytical tests required by food regulations.
"Her work during all these years has been crucial to maintain the high standards of food safety in our country," said Maria Luisa Carcedo.
The ANC has contributed to the resolution of food crises such as the toxic oil syndrome, the one related to the use of Clenbuterol for cattle fattening or the crisis after the sinking of the ship 'Prestige'. In addition, it is accredited by the National Accreditation Entity (ENAC) for more than a hundred test procedures, in the field of food safety.
World Day of Food Security
For the first time this June 7 is the World Food Security Day, approved last November by the United Nations and, on this occasion, carries the theme "Food safety, an issue for everyone."
The minister has shared the motto because "it is incumbent upon us all, we are all responsible for the safety of food throughout the food chain".
The goal of this World Day is to "draw attention and inspire actions to help prevent, detect and manage the risks transmitted by food, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, access to markets, tourism and sustainable development, "he indicated.