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Estonia

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drawio: Estonia

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The central legal foundations for food and feed safety in Estonia are the Food Act and the Feed Act. These acts contain provisions on food and feed safety as well as specify the competent authorities and control bodies responsible for implementing risk-based measures in the field of food and feed safety. Infringement of these regulations can lead to measures under criminal law and consumer damage claims under civil law. Government measures with regard to food safety are often based on scientific risk assessment. However, the final decision on the legality of governmental measures rests with the courts.

In Estonia, food safety risk assessment and risk management are institutionally separated. Risk assessments, scientific opinions and other statements are conducted by the National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment (LABRIS). There is no routine publishing of the results of risk assessment, however depending on the importance of the result, they can be published and/or are available upon request.


Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture

Name Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture
Acronym REM
Activities
  • Agricultural policy and food safety
  • Risk management
  • Risk communication
  • Codex Contact Point
  • EFSA Focal Point
Responsibilities Animal feed Biological hazards and zoonoses Biotechnology and genetic engineering Contaminants Food supplements Mineral water Novel foods Plant protection products or pesticides Residues of veterinary medicinal products
Location Tallinn
URL https://www.agri.ee/en

The Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture (REM) deals with agricultural policy in Estonia and, more particularly, with food and feed safety. The REM prepares draft legislation in the field of food and feed and coordinates the performance of state tasks. The Agriculture and Food Board (PTA) facilitates the work of the REM within its´s remit as the competent authority and executive body. PTA is responsible for official food and feed control and the control of use of plant protection products. With regard to questions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the REM collaborates closely with the Ministry of Climate (KLIM).

The National Reference Laboratories attached to the REM in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/625 are the National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment (LABRIS) and the Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge (METK). The area of work of the REM extends beyond food and feed safety to include, for instance, plant health, animal health and animal welfare.

National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment

Name National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment
Acronym LABRIS
Activities
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk communication
Responsibilities Animal feed Biological hazards and zoonoses Biotechnology and genetic engineering Contaminants Food supplements Novel foods Plant protection products or pesticides Residues of veterinary medicinal products
Location Tartu
URL https://labris.agri.ee/en

The former Veterinary and Food Laboratory has been renamed to National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment (LABRIS) and is subordinate to the REM. The tasks of LABRIS include performing risk assessments and risk communication related to food safety and animal health areas and providing scientific advice to the REM and the PTA.

Agriculture and Food Board

Name Agriculture and Food Board
Acronym PTA
Activities
  • Risk management
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk communication
  • RASFF contact point
Responsibilities Animal feed Biological hazards and zoonoses Biotechnology and genetic engineering Contaminants Food supplements Mineral water Novel foods Plant protection products or pesticides Residues of veterinary medicinal products
Locations Tallinn and Saku
URL https://www.pta.agri.ee/en

The Agriculture and Food Board (PTA) is subordinate to the MEM. The main focus of the work of the PTA is risk management and risk communication. The PTA monitors and coordinates relevant tasks performed by local offices; the local offices are grouped under 4 regions. Risk assessments on food safety and animal health are outsourced to research institutes, universities and the National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment, while plant protection products safety is assessed by PTA.

The activities of the PTA focus on ensuring food and feed safety and cover all the major topics, such as feed, food supplements, GMOs, food contact materials, zoonoses, novel foods, residues of veterinary medicinal products and plant protection products. The area of work of the PTA extends beyond food and feed safety to include, for instance, plant health, animal health and animal welfare, organic production, animal breeding and market control.

Ministry of Social Affairs

Name Ministry of Social Affairs
Acronym SM
Activities
  • Health policy
  • Risk management
Responsibilities Drinking water Mineral water
Location Tallinn
URL https://www.sm.ee/en

The Ministry of Social Affairs (SM) deals with health policy in Estonia. It prepares draft legislation in the field of drinking water, mineral water and spring water. The SM, MEM and KKM work together in the field of GMOs. The Health Board (TA) and the State Agency of Medicines (RA) support the work of the SM in their capacity as the competent authorities. The RA is the regulatory authority for veterinary medicinal products in Estonia, except for their use by veterinarians and animal keepers, which is in the remit of responsibility of the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA).

The task area of the SM extends, amongst others, to questions on nutrition in public institutions in Estonia (nutritional value of food, varied and balanced nutrition).

Health Board

Name Health Board
Acronym TA
Activities
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Risk communication
Responsibilities Drinking water Mineral water
Location Tallinn
URL https://www.terviseamet.ee/en

The Health Board (TA) is subordinate to the SM. The TA is responsible for risk assessments, risk management measures and risk communication in the area of drinking water, natural mineral water and spring water.

The TA is the competent authority for natural mineral water and drinking water, and monitors and coordinates tasks of relevant regional and local authorities.

The National Reference Laboratories attached to the TA in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/625 perform a range of food safety tests, for example on food contact materials and plant protection product residues in food.

Regional and local levels

The PTA has 15 local offices grouped under 4 regions of Estonia. These local offices are responsible for enacting food and feed legislation, for food and feed inspections, for plant health and controlling the use of plant protection products, amongst other issues. The TA consists of a central authority and four regional departments which have further divisions in 15 counties.

Article 36 institutions

Institutions involved in the EFSA network pursuant to Article 36 Reg. (EC) No. 178/2002
  1. Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture (Regionaal- ja Põllumajandusministeerium, REM) (EFSA Focal Point)
  2. Estonian University of Life Sciences (Eesti Maaülikool, EMÜ)
  3. National Centre for Laboratory Research and Risk Assessment (Riigi Laboriuuringute ja Riskihindamise Keskus, LABRIS)
  4. University of Tartu (Tartu Ülikool, TÜ)
  5. National Institute for Health Development (Tervise Arengu Instituut, TAI)
  6. Agricultural and Food Board (Põllumajandus- ja Toiduamet, PTA)
  7. Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge (Maaelu Teadmuskeskus, METK)