Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

The Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), until 2014 known as the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO), is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The DG is responsible for the implementation of European Union laws on the safety of food and other products, on consumers' rights and on the protection of people's health. In 2006, DG Sanco launched the public Health-EU portal to provide European citizens with easy access to comprehensive information on Public Health initiatives and programmes at EU level.

The DG SANTE's audit and non-audit work explained.


Scientific Committees

DG-SANTE manages three independent Scientific Committees:

These Scientific Committees provide the European Commission with the scientific advice on non-food products that it needs when preparing policy and proposals relating to consumer safety, public health and the environment. The Committees also draw the Commission's attention to the new or emerging problems which may pose an actual or potential threat.


Three agencies of the European Union are linked to DG-SANTE: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which the European Commission consults for questions concerning the safety of food products, the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), which administers a system of plant variety rights, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which helps the European Union combat communicable diseases and other serious health threats.

Health-EU Portal

Health-EU Portal is an official web portal of the Health and Food Safety Directorate-General that facilities the access of public-related health information to European Union citizens,[1] launched in 2006.[2] The site contains material on 47 health-related subjects and is in the 22 official languages[3] of the EU. The Health-EU portal complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "Health-EU Portal". Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  2. '^ New EU portal on health launched. 11 May 2006
  3. ^ language policy
  4. ^ HON seal

External links

Dagmar Roth-Behrendt

Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (born 21 February 1953, in Frankfurt am Main) is a lawyer who served as German Member of the European Parliament. She was elected on the SPD ticket and sat with the Party of European Socialists group.


EuroHealthNet is a non-profit partnership of organisations, agencies and statutory bodies working to contribute to a healthier Europe by promoting health and health equity between and within European countries. EuroHealthNet achieves this through its partnership framework by supporting members’ work in EU and associated states through policy and project development, networking and communications.

The network’s office has been located in Brussels since 1996 and staff members are experienced in engaging with the EU institutions, decision makers and a large number of stakeholders from public authorities, civil society, the corporate sector and academia. EuroHealthNet has connections with national and regional governments, as well as with the European institutions, and therefore a good understanding of how evidence and information on health equity can be introduced in current policy making agendas.

The secretariat of around ten staff is based in Brussels and supports the partnership, which operates in three closely interlinked platforms:

EuroHealthNet PRACTICE

EuroHealthNet POLICY

EuroHealthNet RESEARCH

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety

The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety is the member of the European Commission. The current post of Commissioner is held by Vytenis Andriukaitis (Lithuania). The portfolio is responsible for matters of public health, food safety, animal health and plant health.

European Health Examination Survey

The European Health Examination Survey (EHES) is an ongoing series of large-scale clinical epidemiological studies. It is a cooperative effort among multiple European nations, in concert with the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). While actual data collection is carried out through the health ministries of each participating nation, the coordination of these efforts across borders is under the jurisdiction of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety.

Food safety

Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illnesses resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. In this way food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers. The tracks within this line of thought are safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer. In considering industry to market practices, food safety considerations include the origins of food including the practices relating to food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as policies on biotechnology and food and guidelines for the management of governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods. In considering market to consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer.

Food can transmit pathogens which can result in the illness or death of the person or other animals. The main mediums are bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus (which is Latin for mushroom). It can also serve as a growth and reproductive medium for pathogens. In developed countries there are intricate standards for food preparation, whereas in lesser developed countries there are fewer standards and less enforcement of those standards. Another main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, which is usually a critical item in the spreading of diseases. In theory, food poisoning is 100% preventable. However this cannot be achieved due to the number of persons involved in the supply chain, as well as the fact that pathogens can be introduced into foods no matter how many precautions are taken.

The five key principles of food hygiene, according to WHO, are:

Prevent contaminating food with pathogens spreading from people, pets, and pests.

Separate raw and cooked foods to prevent contaminating the cooked foods.

Cook foods for the appropriate length of time and at the appropriate temperature to kill pathogens.

Store food at the proper temperature.

Use safe water and safe raw materials.

Hazards of synthetic biology

The hazards of synthetic biology include biosafety hazards to workers and the public, biosecurity hazards stemming from deliberate engineering of organisms to cause harm, and hazards to the environment. The biosafety hazards are similar to those for existing fields of biotechnology, mainly exposure to pathogens and toxic chemicals, although novel synthetic organisms may have novel risks. For biosecurity, there is concern that synthetic or redesigned organisms could theoretically be used for bioterrorism. Potential biosecurity risks include recreating known pathogens from scratch, engineering existing pathogens to be more dangerous, and engineering microbes to produce harmful biochemicals. Lastly, environmental hazards include adverse effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services, including potential changes to land use resulting from agricultural use of synthetic organisms.

In general, existing hazard controls, risk assessment methodologies, and regulations developed for traditional genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are considered to be sufficient for synthetic organisms. "Extrinsic" biocontainment methods in a laboratory context include physical containment through biosafety cabinets and gloveboxes, as well as personal protective equipment. In an agricultural context they include isolation distances and pollen barriers, similar to methods for biocontainment of GMOs. Synthetic organisms might potentially offer increased hazard control because they can be engineered with "intrinsic" biocontainment methods that limit their growth in an uncontained environment, or prevent horizontal gene transfer to natural organisms. Examples of intrinsic biocontainment include auxotrophy, biological kill switches, inability of the organism to replicate or to pass synthetic genes to offspring, and the use of xenobiological organisms using alternative biochemistry, for example using artificial xeno nucleic acids (XNA) instead of DNA.

Existing risk analysis systems for GMOs are generally considered sufficient for synthetic organisms, although there may be difficulties for an organism built "bottom-up" from individual genetic sequences. Synthetic biology generally falls under existing regulations for GMOs and biotechnology in general, and any regulations that exist for downstream commercial products, although there are generally no regulations in any jurisdiction that are specific to synthetic biology.

Heads of Medicines Agencies

The Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) is a network of both the human and veterinary

medicines agencies of the European Economic Area.The HMA co-operates with the European Medicines Agency and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety) in the operation of the European medicines regulatory system. The network provides a forum for the co-ordination and the exchange of views and proposals on issues concerning the European regulatory system and the role of the national authorities within that system.

The HMA, initially known as the Heads of Agencies, was established in 1995 with a first full meeting taking place in Amsterdam in February 1996. Initially the network comprised only agencies responsible for the regulation of medicines for human use. In February 1998, a parallel group bringing together the heads of agencies responsible for medicines for veterinary use held its first meeting. The two groups started organising joint meetings in 2000 and since 2004 these activities have been integrated under the umbrella of the HMA.

Health On the Net Foundation

Health On the Net Foundation (HON) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 under the auspices of the Geneva Department of Employment, Social Affairs and Health and based in Geneva, Switzerland. This came about following the gathering of 60 of the world's foremost experts on telemedicine to discuss the growing concerns over the unequal quality of online health information. The unanimous conclusion of this gathering was to create a permanent body that would, in the words of the program, "promote the effective and reliable use of the new technologies for telemedicine in healthcare around the world". The HON Foundation became one of the first organizations to guide both lay users and medical professionals to reliable sources of health information in cyberspace.

Ladislav Miko

Ladislav Miko (born 9 April 1961) is Czech environmental expert and politician. He was the Minister of Environment in the caretaker government of Jan Fischer but later returned to work for the European Commission. In years 2011-2017 he served as the Deputy Director General of Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANCO) with responsibilities for the food chain, From January 2018 he was appointed as a Head of EU Representation in Slovakia.

Mc Group

The mc Group (formerly Media Consulta) is an international public relations network and advertising agency. Established in 1993 in Cologne, the company has been headquartered in Berlin since the year 2000.The mc Group is Germany's largest communication agency and the third-largest German advertising agency. It is one of the key players in the industry, currently ranking 13th worldwide, 2nd in Europe and 1st in the GCC/Middle East. The mc Group pursues an integrated communication approach, offering a comprehensive service portfolio in a variety of fields. The group of companies includes over 80 agencies on all continents. The mc Group is the only agency worldwide to be present in all 28 member states of the European Union. Clients come from the worlds of business (e.g. Generali, Lidl), media (e.g. RTL, CNN), politics (e.g. the European Union, the ASEAN, many national governments including Germany, Brazil, France or China) and sports clubs/associations (e.g. football, Formula 1, tennis, golf and the Olympic Games).

National Food Chain Safety Office

National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO) is the integrated food safety authority of Hungary, established on 15 March 2012.

Sanco (disambiguation)

Sanco can mean:

Mie Kotsu Co., Ltd., also known as Sanco, a Japanese public transportation company

DG-SANCO, a European Union organisation, now Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

Sanco, Texas, Coke County, Texas, U.S.

Sancho Creek, formerly Sanco Creek, West Virginia, U.S.

Synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering.

The subject combines disciplines from within these domains, such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, molecular biology, molecular engineering, systems biology, membrane science, biophysics, chemical and biological engineering, electrical and computer engineering, control engineering and evolutionary biology. Synthetic biology applies these disciplines to build artificial biological systems for research, engineering and medical applications.

Trade Control and Expert System

TRACES, or Trade Control and Expert System, is a web-based veterinarian certification tool used by the European Union for controlling the import and export of live animals and animal products within and without its borders. Its network falls under the responsibility of the European Commission. TRACES constitutes a key element of how the European Union facilitates trade and improves health protection for the consumer, as laid down in the First Pillar principle. Other countries use computer networks to provide veterinary certification, but TRACES is the only supranational network in the world working at a continental scale of 28 countries and almost 500 million people.

Xavier Prats Monné

Xavier Prats Monné (born 1956 in Tarragona, Spain) is the Special Advisor of Teach For All, a global non-profit organisation whose mission is to expand educational opportunity around the world, since October 2018. He previously was a high-ranking official of the European Commission, as: Director General of the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (2015-2018), Deputy Director General (2010–2014) and Director General (2014–2015) at the Directorate-General for Education and Culture. As Director-general for Health and Food Safety he was responsible for the promotion of public health, the assessment of national healthcare systems' performance, animal health and welfare, and the strengthening of Europe's capacity to deal with crisis situations in human health and food safety. As Director-general for Education and Culture, the main policy areas under his responsibility were: the modernisation of European education and training systems; educational mobility, including the "Erasmus" programme for students; and international relations in the field of education, culture and youth. He represents the European Commission (EC) at the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT).

From mid-2007 till the end-2010, he served as the EC Director for employment policy, Europe 2020 Strategy and international relations in the field of employment; in this capacity, he was also responsible for relations between the EC and the International Labour Organization (ILO), and EC "sherpa" representative at the G20 Labour Ministers meeting. He was also, from 2007 to end-2010, one of the five founding members of the EC Impact Assessment Board, which vets all impact assessments produced by the institution and reports directly to the President. He previously served as: Director for the European Social Fund; Deputy Chief of Staff of the EC Vice-President for external relations; Advisor of the EC Commissioner for Regional policy; assistant to the European Commission Spokesperson; Administrator at the Directorate General for Development policy and at the General Secretariat of the European Commission.

He completed his primary and secondary education at the Istituto Massimo of Rome, Italy. He majored in Social Anthropology at the University of Madrid, Spain (Universidad Complutense), and holds degrees in development economics from the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies in France; and in European Affairs from the College of Europe in Belgium, where he graduated first of the Class of 1981–82 (the Johan Willem Beyen Promotion) and served as assistant professor. He is from Spain, fluent in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Catalan.

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