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* Host institution of the national EFSA Focal Point. For information on the EFSA Focal Point network, please see the EFSA website.
Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law is the central foundation for food legislation in France.
Government measures with regard to food safety take into account scientific knowledge and, more particularly, scientific risk assessments.
In France, for food safety, there is a clear distinction between risk assessment and risk management. Risk assessments and scientific opinions are conducted by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) and are publicly available through publication on its website (unless prohibited by statutory provisions).
Risk management is mainly under the authority of three general directorates in three ministries: the Directorate General for Food (DGAL, MAF), the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF, MEF) and the Directorate General for Health (DGS, MSH).
ANSES also has risk management responsibilities in the areas of veterinary drugs and plant protection products.
The ministries use risk assessments prepared by ANSES as the scientific foundation for risk management measures.
These three general directorates have a dual responsibility:
- ‘political’ – through the development of regulations at the national level and also through a central administration that ensures French representation in international and European authorities.
- ‘operational’ – through decentralised services located in each region and department in France whose mission is to control the implementation of health and food regulations.
Risk communication is conducted by the ministries and by ANSES when relevant. The Codex Contact Point in France is located at the Secrétariat général des affaires européennes (General Secretariat for European Affairs), which is under the authority of the Prime Minister.
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
|Name||Ministry of Agriculture and Food|
In the field of food safety, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF) is responsible for agricultural policy, the safety of food of animal or plant origin and the safety of animal feed. MAF prepares draft legislation in this area and is also responsible for controls and inspection. MAF is also responsible for fighting food crime.
MAF's portfolio encompasses plant protection products, including residues, veterinary medicinal products, GMOs and zoonoses.
The area of work of MAF extends beyond food safety to include plant health, plant protection, animal health and animal welfare. In France there are two RASFF contact points, one is at MAF and the other at MEF.
Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control
|Name||Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control|
The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (MEF) is responsible for consumer policy including state food inspections of all products of non-animal origin. The portfolio of the MEF includes animal feed, biological hazards (microbiology / hygiene) in food of non-animal origin, GMOs in food of non-animal origin (other aspects with regards to GMOs are covered by the MAF), contaminants, emerging risks, food contact materials and packaging, food ingredients, food supplements, nanotechnology, novel foods, nutrition, plant protection products or pesticides (residue).
Ministry of Solidarity and Health
|Name||Ministry of Solidarity and Health|
The Ministry of Solidarity and Health (MSH) Directorate General for Health deals with public health policy, food safety, and mineral and drinking water. MSH defines objectives and priorities for public health policy, sets the legislative and regulatory framework, develops public health plans and national health programmes and ensures their implementation. In collaboration with MAF, MSH is in charge of investigations on foodborne diseases.
French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety
|Name||French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety|
Created on 1 July 2010, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) is a scientific body active in the fields of food safety, occupational and environmental health, animal health and welfare, and plant health. ANSES's core activity is to conduct independent and pluralistic expert assessments in order to evaluate health risks and provide the competent authorities with scientific data and recommendations that are essential to take the necessary measures preserve public health. These assessments are carried out with the support of 16 scientific expert committees and related ad hoc working groups involving more than 800 external scientific experts.
The agency also assesses the effectiveness and risks of veterinary medicinal products, plant protection products, fertilisers, growing media and their adjuvants, as well as biocides, with a view to delivering marketing authorisations. It also provides assessments of chemicals within the framework of the European REACH regulations.
ANSES reports to five ministries, three of which have responsibilities in the area of food safety (agriculture, health, economy). These ministries use risk assessments prepared by ANSES as basis for risk management measures.
ANSES undertakes monitoring, alert, vigilance, research and reference activities. It also defines, implements and funds scientific and technical research programmes. The agency relies on a network of nine reference and research laboratories which operate in three main areas: animal health and welfare, food safety (chemical and microbiological), and plant health and hold numerous reference mandates (65 national mandates, 13 EU, and 29 international: WHO, FAO, OIE).
Regional and local levels
France consists of 13 regions and 101 departments (five departments and regions are located overseas). Feed and food inspections are carried out by the decentralised services (regional and local offices) of the three ministries in charge of food and feed safety.