important legal notice
public health food safety consumers

Markos Kyprianou
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healthy animals give us healthy food

My name is Hanna and I am a specialist in animal health from the far north of Finland. I have been working on animal health issues at the European Commission since Finland joined the EU in 1995.

It is an exciting area to work with! Some outbreaks of animal diseases, like foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza, can be very dramatic and quickly hit the headlines. Part of my work is to set up the rules at EU level to try to prevent those outbreaks. When outbreaks do happen, our role is to help the EU countries manage them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

On a smaller scale, we also set up EU rules for things like bringing your pets along on vacation. For example, the new "pet passport" makes it easier to bring your furry friends on holiday. Within food safety policy, we work to ensure a safe food supply for Europeans "from the farm to the fork". What does that mean? Plant health, animal health and animal welfare are included in our work on food safety because we are convinced that for food to be safe, it must come from healthy animals and plants. Working "from farm to fork" is clearly a big task!

So, what don't we do? We set up the rules, together with representatives of all the EU countries, but we don't enforce the rules. That is the job of your government. Our colleagues at the Food and Veterinary Office carry out inspections to see if the food safety systems in your country are working well, but if those systems are not working, then it's up to your national authorities to fix the situation.