The Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AESAN), an autonomous body
dependent on the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, was created
in 2001 to ensure the highest level of food safety, as a fundamental aspect of
public health, and to promote the health of citizens; as well as to generate
confidence among citizens in the food consumed and to provide them with the
necessary information to be able to choose.
In 2006, it added the promotion of health through nutrition and, above all,
through the prevention of obesity to its functions.
The food chain is a cycle that begins with the primary production process
and ends with the consumption of the products. The best way to avoid
food-related hazards is to consider the food chain as a whole.
- Reduce the risk of diseases transmitted or conveyed by food.
- Ensure the effectiveness of food control systems and promote a production
sector that sees food safety as a competitive strategy.
- Promote the consumption of healthy foods by promoting accessibility and
- Guarantee that consumers and economic agents in the Spanish food sector
receive objective information.
- Promote the collaboration and coordination of public authorities
responsible for food safety and nutrition. With this in view, AESAN is working
closely with the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality; Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Ministry of the Economy and
Competitiveness; as well as with the Autonomous Regions.
- Plan, coordinate and develop strategies and actions that generate
health-related information, education and awareness in the field of nutrition
and, above all, related to the prevention of obesity.
- Promote the cooperation between the public Administrations and other
related sectors, including the production sector through Producers' and
Distributors' Associations, consumers through Consumer Associations, as well as
- Act as focal point at national level in food risk assessment and in the
management and communication of the said hazards, especially in crises or
Scope of action
- The safety of food intended for human consumption, including nutrition and
quality issues with a bearing on health.
- The safety of the food chain, covering all stages.
- Aspects related to animal and plant health that have a direct or indirect
impact on food safety.
- Any other aspect assigned in the light of scientific progress and new
- Coordinate activities directly or indirectly related to food safety and
- Encourage executive actions and regulations, from the relevant authorities,
especially in crises or emergency situations.
- Coordinate existing early warning networks in the field of food
- Advise on the planning and development of food policies.
- Provide technical advice and develop technical reports, in coordination
with the Scientific Committee, and make them public.
- Represent Spain in matters of food safety and nutrition discussed in the EU
and other international organisations, especially before the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Health Organisation (WHO), the
Codex Alimentarius and the European Council.
- Operate as a point of contact between the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA) and other national food safety authorities, research institutes,
consumers and other stakeholders.
With this in view, AESAN, in accordance with the most widely accepted
international guidelines, bases its actions on Food Risk Analyses, based
- scientific assessments based on quality and independence.
- management by the relevant authorities.
- transparent information.
- Consumer priority. Decisions based on the interests of consumers, above all
- Create and maintain a reputation of the organisation's expertise and
excellence in matters relating to food safety.
- Achieve a leading position in Europe, through the implementation of risk
analysis policies that ensure the credibility, independence and transparency of
the Agency's actions.
- Employ multidisciplinary professionals of the highest standards and
- Decision making based on the best scientific evidence; fast, flexible and
in collaboration with scientific institutions governed by quality assurance
standards and systems.
- Independent from interests beyond the representative and accountable
protection of health.
- Transparency, subject to rigorous public scrutiny. Institutional
coordination and collaboration in the pursuit of greater efficiency and
- Reconcile the interests of stakeholders, facilitating the harmonisation of
actions and interests.
- Continuous improvement as a criterion governing the management of the
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