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The legal foundation for food safety in Turkey is Law No. 5996 on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed. Law No. 5996 covers provisions contained in Regulations (EC) No.178/2002, No. 852/2004, No. 853/2004, No. 854/2004, No. 882/2004 as well as relevant provisions in various other EU regulations with regard to veterinary and phytosanitary issues.
Infringement of food regulations can lead to measures under criminal law and consumer damage claims (under the Law No. 6502), 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.
Although there is no institutional separation in Turkey, risk management is procedurally separated from risk assessment, which is undertaken by scientific commissions. Risk assessment results are not yet regularly published.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
|Name||Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry|
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (TOB) is responsible for food and feed safety, including veterinary and phytosanitary aspects. The TOB aims to protect public health, plant and animal health, animal welfare and consumer interests, taking into consideration the protection of the environment. The TOB is responsible for official controls and inspections at all stages of the food and feed chain.
To protect human and animal health, the TOB cooperates with the Ministry of Health (SB) and other relevant institutions with regard to the monitoring of certain zoonotic diseases and agents, foodborne outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance.
The TOB in Ankara consists of twenty-one units, three of them are involved in the development and enforcement of food and feed safety, veterinary policy and phytosanitary policy (i.e. the General Directorate of Food and Control (GKGM), General Directorate of Plant Production (BÜGEM), General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM)).
Ministry of Health
|Name||Ministry of Health|
The Ministry of Health (SB) is responsible for specific aspects in the area of food safety. The SB prepares legislation and is responsible for inspection and control of the quality of water intended for human consumption, natural mineral water, health claims, dietary foods for special medical purposes, as well as products which do not require a prescription but have been scientifically and clinically proven to be used as drugs, including enteral nutritional products. In addition, epidemiologic research is coordinated by the General Directorate of Public Health. The SB is represented by Provincial Health Directorates (PHDs) in the provinces and District Health Directorate (DHDs) at the district level.
General Directorate of Food and Control
|Name||General Directorate of Food and Control|
The General Directorate of Food and Control (GKGM) is a unit within the TOB which is responsible for developing policies and preparing legislation, as well as for the subsequent enforcement, control and inspection of food and feed safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health at the central level (‘from farm to fork’). The GKGM is also responsible for conducting scientific risk assessments which are carried out by scientific commissions under the umbrella of the Risk Assessment Department.
Laboratory services for animal health, plant health as well as food and feed safety are provided by eight veterinary control and research institutes, eight plant protection research institutes, four quarantine laboratories, 39 provincial control laboratories, one food control and central research institute, and one National Food Reference Laboratory under the supervision of the GKGM. There are also 98 private laboratories operating with the authorisation of the GKGM. Most of the practical implementation and enforcement activities are carried out by 81 Provincial Agricultural and Forestry Directorates (PAFDs) and 914 District Agricultural and Forestry Directorates (DAFDs), with a vertical chain of command between the two.
General Directorate of Plant Production
|Name||General Directorate of Plant Production|
The General Directorate of Plant Protection (BÜGEM) is a unit within the TOB which is responsible for the determination and inspection of standards and the convenience of use of agricultural inputs and production technologies, such as the organic production of agricultural products.
General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies
|Name||General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies|
The General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM) is a unit within the TOB and is involved in agricultural research in the field of plant health, animal health, food and feed safety, animal husbandry, fishery, horticulture and field crops in order to identify the priorities and strategies of agricultural research and development, taking into account the national development plans, and to prepare and implement measures in those areas.
Some specific areas such as residues of plant protection products and veterinary drugs, heavy metals and other contaminants, mycotoxins, additives and microbiological criteria are studied in research institutions and laboratories, such as the Plant Protection Central Research Institute and the Veterinarian Central Research and Control Institute.
Some of the laboratories associated with TAGEM conduct laboratory analyses of samples collected during food, feed, animal health and phytosanitary control and inspections under the supervision of the GKGM.
The tasks of evaluating applications related to GMOs and their associated products, performing the secretarial tasks of the committees and other duties specified in the Biosafety Law and related regulations are carried out by the TAGEM.
Regional and local levels
There are 81 provinces and 919 districts in Turkey. The TOB is represented by local TOB offices (PAFDs and DAFDs) in all provinces and 914 districts. PAFDs consist of nine units responsible for food, feed, animal health, breeding, fishery, plant production and plant health. Four of them are involved in the enforcement of food and feed safety, veterinary policy and phytosanitary policy.