International contacts are important for the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). Food and product safety is a global cross-border issue and not confined to the Dutch territory. A large part of the regulations which we control and enforce originate from the EU. At an international level, we deal with many different parties. Therefore, international collaboration is paramount for the NVWA.
The Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) is responsible for food safety within the European Commission. The Directorate General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME’s is responsible for consumer product safety.
The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) monitors Member States’ compliance with EU regulation. The FVO inspects the NVWA activities. We provide expertise for FVO inspections in other Member States and in third countries.
The European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, coordinates risk assessment activities and the scientific and risk communication of the various European food safety authorities. The EFSA also advises the European Commission on topics within its remit. The NVWA is the contact point in the Netherlands for the EFSA. The NVWA’s department for Risk Assessment & Research (BuRO) participates in EFSA platforms and networks, such asthe Advisory Forum and the Emerging Risks Exchange Network.
The NVWA also takes part in international platforms like the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation), OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and the Codex Alimentarius where commonly agreed standards are developed on plant and animal health and food safety standards.
Regular meetings of the Heads of European Food Safety Agencies, Participation in Prosafe (Product Safety Forum of Europe), and FLEP (Food Law Enforcement Practitioners Forum), are examples of the way the NVWA maintains its contacts with similar organizations. With neighbouring countries we have regular bilateral meetings to discuss matters of common interest.
The NVWA works together with European partners in international twinning projects with countries outside of the European Union to ensure the smooth conduct of border controls. These projects focus on removal of trade barriers, market access and knowledge-building, for example by increasing the knowledge of European regulations in those countries. Cooperation also improves the relationship with the authorities in those countries, so that any export problems can be solved more quickly. The NVWA is also involved in a number of bilateral projects with governmental organisations in third countries.