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Together with European food laws, Decree-Law No. 113/2006 is the central legal foundation for food legislation in Portugal. Infringement of food regulations can lead to measures under criminal law and consumer damage claims under civil law, whereby the final decision rests with the courts. Government measures with regard to food safety are often based on scientific risk assessments. However, the final decision on the legality of governmental measures rests with the courts.
In Portugal, there is no institutional separation of risk assessment and risk communication from risk management. Risk assessments are not published.
Ministry of Agriculture
|Name||Ministry of Agriculture|
Within the Ministry of Agriculture (MA), the Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary (DGAV) is in charge of coordinating legislation, preparing bills and the multi-annual national control plan. It is also responsible for the implementation of food safety controls for food of animal origin. Most activities in the area of food safety and food inspections are supervised by the MA.
The MA's work extends beyond the field of food safety to include, for instance, plant health, animal health, animal welfare and biocides. The National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinarian Research (INIAV) is subordinate to the MA. The INIAV contains several National Reference Laboratories in its structure, pursuant to Regulation (EC) 882/2004.
Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition
|Name||Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition|
The Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition (METD) deals with economic and consumer policy, as well as with food safety in Portugal. The Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) is the competent specialist authority that supports the work of the METD.
Economic and Food Safety Authority
|Name||Economic and Food Safety Authority|
As a subordinate specialist authority of the METD, the Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) is responsible for risk assessments, risk communication and risk management (food inspection) in the field of food safety.
The ASAE is advised by an independent Scientific Council supported by 6 specialised thematic panels (1. Additives and Contaminants in the Food Chain; 2. Feed, Health and Animal Welfare; 3. Biological Hazards; 4. Plant Health and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); 5. Nutrition and Food Allergies, and 6. Risk Communication).
The ASAE is a criminal police body that operates as the national authority responsible for carrying out inspections to prevent and combat fraud in all economic areas, including food and feed, and National Focal Point of the EU Food Fraud Network (FFN).
It is also responsible for risk assessments and risk communication in relation to food and feed. This is handled by a department that coordinates EFSA-related activities.
The organic structure of the ASAE covers the whole country with one central and several regional control services.
The remit of the ASAE includes the commercialisation chain of plant and animal products, including fishing products (aquaculture, factory ships, vessels, stores, warehouses and wholesale markets). The ASAE competencies also include food supplements, contaminants in meat, fish, plant products and mineral water. The safety of tap water lies within the responsibility of the regulatory authority for water and waste.
The ASAE, through Food Safety Laboratory, has three National Reference Laboratories pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004: mycotoxins in food, dioxins in food and feed, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in oils and fats.
Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary Issues
|Name||Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary Issues|
The Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary (DGAV) is the subordinate specialist authority of the MA. Based on scientific risk assessments, the DGAV implements state food policy and conducts inspections.
As regards the operation of control systems for the safety of food and feed, animal health and animal welfare, plant health and veterinary public health, activities are carried out by five regional directorates that report directly to the DGAV's central management. This directorate also controls an inspection network.
The powers of the DGAV comprise the areas of genetically modified food, zoonoses, veterinary and plant protection product residues, and food contact materials. The DGAV is the regulatory body for veterinary and plant protection products in Portugal and residues of plant protection products, including pesticide residues in plants. As the national plant protection authority, the DGAV supports the development of regulations on plant protection products and implements the national waste control programmes, including pesticides. The DGAV is also responsible for developing the multi-annual national control plan in compliance with the principles and guidelines laid down in Regulation (EU) No. 2017/625.
The DGAV's area of work goes beyond food safety to include, for example, animal health, animal feed, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, animal by-products, veterinary medicines and animal welfare.
Regional and local levels
Continental Portugal is administratively divided into 18 districts (308 counties) and two autonomous regions (Azores and Madeira). The Azores and Madeira regions each have an elected assembly with decentralised powers to pass legislation. The evaluation, management and communication of risk in the autonomous regions are dependent on the regional governments; in Madeira it is the ARAE (Regional Authority for the Economic Activities) and in Azores, the IRAE (Regional Inspection Economic Activities), which have the same competencies as the ASAE.
Article 36 institutions
|Institutions involved in the EFSA network pursuant to Article 36 Reg. (EC) No. 178/2002|