The Council of Ministers of Spain approved, last Friday, at the proposal of the Minister of Health, Social Services, and Gender Equality, the Royal Decree by which the National Institute of Consumption and the Spanish Food Safety Agency are to be combined. In this way, both autonomous bodies will become united as a new body called Spanish Agency of Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN).
Both the Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency, and the National Institute of Consumption shared a mission with respect to the protection of the health and safety of the consumers and users and, although each of them had specific action areas, both worked in the sphere of food, and both had lines of work in the administrative, analysis and investigation fields that could complement one another and, in this way, make the use of public resources more profitable.
The Agency is born, in conclusion, with a conciliatory and cooperation vocation of all the involved agents in the guaranteeing of the safety of the consumers in its wider sense. Also, the fusion of both bodies, which started at the beginning of this term in office, allows as annual saving of €360,000. This favours the simplification and the sustainability of the administrative structure. A reduction of bodies and a maximum exploitation of the existing units are attained.
The combination of both bodies allows to address the consumers' and users' protection from a sole administrative body under a sole management that guarantees the unity of standards, complicates the dysfunctions in the compliance of the duties and that will improve the efficacy and efficiency of the management of the General State Administration. Additionally, there will be a sole interlocution for companies, consumers' organisations and administrations.
The essential goals of the AECOSAN will be as follows:
- The promotion and the development of the rights of the consumers and the users.
- Promote food safety, offering guarantees and unbiased information.
- Plan, coordinate and develop strategies and actions that encourage the information, education and promotion regarding health in the field of nutrition and, very especially, in the prevention of obesity.
The Agency will also reinforce the presence of Spain in all the decisions that have to do with food safety and consumption in the sphere of the European Union. The three national reference laboratories: the National Food Centre (CNA), the European Reference Laboratory for Biotoxins (in Vigo) and the Consumer Arbitration Laboratory will depend on it.
With respect to the organization chart, the AECOSAN will be led by the principal of the General Secretariat of Health and Consumption (Pilar Farjas). It will also have a scientific committee in charge of carrying out the hazard assessments. These assessments, that are already being carried out in the field of nutrition, are now extended to the rest of products.
Friday January 17, 2014/ AESAN/ Spain.