The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) is a government owned agency attached to the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism.
AGES was formed upon the Health and Food Safety Act in 2002 as a limited liability company with a public service mission.
Mission: Healthy life for humans, animals and plants!
The business of AGES is to promote a holistic approach to food security, food safety, animal health and public health issues in Austria by integrating different disciplines along the human food chain in order to achieve synergy effects and to concentrate all relevant capacities.
AGES works in accordance with the principles of risk analysis to ensure the highest possible health, food safety and consumer protection levels possible within our sphere of influence: AGES evaluates risks, conducts risk communication and gives risk management recommendations.
AGES stands for safe, high-quality food and pharmaceuticals, as well as for healthy nutrition. We ensure health for humans, animals and plants from the farm to the fork. As one of Europe’s leading expert organisations, AGES strives to minimise risks within its sphere of influence and ensure food safety and food security.
AGES executes federal state tasks in the areas of agriculture, food and feed safety control, control of infectious diseases, veterinary medicine, radiation protection medical devices and pharmaceuticals. AGES is responsible for authorizations of products, registrations of premises, controls and inspections and analyses in accordance with various Austrian federal laws such as the Seed Act, Feedstuffs Act, Plant Protection Products Act, Plant Health Act, Fertilizer Act, Plant Variety Protection Act, Radiation Protection Act, Austrian Medicines Product Act, Medical Devices Act, Medicinal Products Import Act, Blood Safety Act and Health and Food Safety Act. When performing these duties AGES acts as authority (Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES), Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG)).
AGES operates the federal laboratories related to food safety (food and feed analysis, water analysis, residues analysis) and radiation protection, the main diagnostic laboratories related to food safety and human health, animal health and plant health. AGES’ laboratories serve as National Reference Laboratories according to Regulation No. (EC) 2017/625, as reference centres for infectious diseases and as official laboratories for plant health, seeds and propagating material. AGES conducts its activities on the basis of management standards and guidelines.
AGES is responsible for integrated risk assessment and conducts research in the areas above mentioned. Specific areas of responsibility and applied research are soil protection, agricultural production potentials (varieties and plant genetic resources, seeds, crop protection, plant health), GMOs, animal health, epidemiology of food borne and infectious diseases, nutrition, inspection and approval of medicines and medical devices and risk assessment and recommendations related to the above-mentioned fields.
Regarding research AGES is classified as non-profit research organisation.
Strategic research questions:
- Animal Health
- Animal Nutrition and Feed
- Communicable diseases
- Epidemiological models and assessment
- Faultless Goods, Water and Food Safety
- Food borne diseases and Zoonosis
- Food Security
- Methods for Risk Assessment
- Nutrition and Consumer protection
- Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices
- Plant Health and Plant Protection
- Radiation Protection
- Research Infrastructures
- Soil Health and Sustainable Plant Production
- Varieties, seeds and planting material, biodiversity
At national level, AGES closely cooperates with authorities, institutions of the 9 federal provinces of Austria as well as with ministries, authorities, universities, institutions and stakeholders on federal state level. At European and international level, AGES takes part in a wide range of networks. AGES staff members act as representatives in numerous European Council working groups, EU panels of experts and Commission Committees. AGES takes part in the meetings held by the Heads of European Food Safety Agencies. In addition AGES is engaged and involved in several national and international research projects in order to strengthen its competences in its different fields of its responsibility (food security, human health, animal health, food safety, radiation protection and risk assessment) along the food chain.