Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety

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Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety
- BVL -

State level Federation
position Higher federal authority
Supervisory authority Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
founding 2002
Headquarters Braunschweig , Lower Saxony
Authority management Friedel Cramer, President
Servants about 700
Web presence www.bvl.bund.de

The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety ( BVL ) is a higher federal authority belonging to the division of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture with its headquarters in Braunschweig . It maintains an office in Berlin .

Reorganization of consumer health protection

After a series of smaller food crises at the end of the 1990s and the BSE crisis, which then took a dramatic course in Europe and the associated loss of confidence in politics, calls for a reorganization of consumer protection were also loud in Germany. Following a report by the then President of the Federal Audit Office , Hedda von Wedel , to the Federal Government at the time, consumer health protection was reorganized on January 1, 2002. Assessment and management of risks, which used to be under the umbrella of a single regulatory institution, have been separated from one another in order to improve the transparency of government action. In this context, the Federal Agency (later the Federal Office) for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) was established as the competent higher federal authority for risk management , subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) , in order to coordinate the federal and state levels as well as improving the communication of risks. Since then, the scientific assessment of risks has been carried out by the newly established Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

This division also corresponds to the authority structure at European level - risk management by the European Commission and the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Dublin , Ireland, as well as the scientific risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority ( EFSA ) in Parma, Italy.

legal framework

The tasks of the authority are laid down in the BVL Act as well as in various specialist laws in the field of food, consumer goods, feed, plant protection, pharmaceuticals and genetic engineering law.


It was founded in 2002. From 2006 to 2015, the BVL also performed economic consumer protection tasks.


The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety is responsible for various approval and management tasks in the area of ​​food safety. Its aim is to improve coordination between the federal government and the federal states in the field of consumer health protection, to make the communication of risks more transparent and to manage risks before they become crises.


The BVL issues approvals for certain foods and coordinates monitoring programs together with the federal states . As the national contact point for the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed RASFF , the BVL ensures the flow of information between the European Union and the federal states . It also supports the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in crisis management. In addition, the BVL is the national contact point for audits of the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission (FVO) and acts as an advisory and coordinating body on issues relating to the export of animal products. On behalf of the federal states, the BVL operates the joint central office “Control of LFGB products and tobacco products traded on the Internet”, or G @ ZIELT for short.

Commodities and tobacco products

The BVL coordinates certain monitoring tasks for all consumer goods that come into contact with food or the body, such as packaging, cosmetics, textiles or toys, as well as for tobacco products. The BVL is the national contact point for the approval of food contact materials as well as for administrative cooperation and serious adverse effects (SAEs) in cosmetic products.


The BVL examines applications for approval of feed additives, bioproteins and diet feeds. It maintains the register of recognized or registered feed companies and the register of the border entry points established for the import of certain feed . The BVL participates in the coordination of the national control program for feed safety and coordinates EU-wide inspection and survey programs. It addresses issues in the area of ​​animal by-products and derived products.


The BVL is responsible for the approval of plant protection products in Germany and forms the national coordination office for testing active substances in plant protection products and setting maximum residue levels in the European Union . In the approval process, the BVL is responsible for risk management, which is intended to avoid negative effects of the use of pesticides on people and the environment. The BVL also lists plant strengtheners and additives that are permitted in Germany .

Veterinary drugs

The authorization of veterinary medicinal products is intended to ensure the quality, effectiveness and safety of these medicinal products. In Germany, the BVL is responsible for the approval of veterinary medicinal products and cooperation in EU approval procedures. If undesirable effects occur with approved veterinary medicinal products, veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies are obliged to report this to the BVL. The subject of resistance to antibiotics is systematized and coordinated by a team from the BVL. The conclusions from the assessment of resistance are taken into account in the approval.

Genetic engineering

Before a GMO can be released for scientific purposes in Germany, this must be approved by the BVL. With the location register, the BVL creates transparency and thus enables the coexistence of GMO-using and GMO-avoiding agriculture. If GMOs are to be grown commercially, the BVL issues an opinion in the joint approval procedure of the European Union . As the national contact point, the BVL is responsible for the international exchange of information about GMOs in the Biosafety Clearing House, an international information platform. In addition, the office of the Central Commission for Biosafety (ZKBS) has been set up at the BVL , which advises the federal government and the federal states .


In order to achieve uniform standards for food controls in the European Union , national and European reference laboratories work together in a network. One European and eight national reference laboratories for certain residues and contaminants are located in the BVL , as well as the official collection of test methods. The BVL systematically records the sensitivity of bacteria in animals to antibiotics throughout Germany.


The authority has published the Journal for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (JVL) since 2006 . The JVL, which appears periodically, publishes appraised German and English-language original and review articles with current reference. With scientific articles from basic and applied research as well as administrative monitoring activities, the JVL depicts the status and developments in the field of consumer protection and food safety. The journal for consumer protection and food safety is published by Springer-Verlag . In addition, the BVL publishes various annual reports, for example on food monitoring or the trade in or use of plant protection products .

The BVL operates various internet portals. In cooperation with the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hanover , the “consumer search engine” Clewwa was created , with which a targeted search for information on the subject of consumer protection is possible. Together with Germany Trade and Invest , the company of the Federal Republic of Germany for foreign trade and location marketing, the BVL set up Portal 21. The information and service portal supports consumers and entrepreneurs when they use services in and from other European countries. It informs service recipients about the legal framework and consumer protection in other European countries.

In addition, from 2006 to 2012, the BVL coordinated the “Action Plan against Allergies” for the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and, in this context, managed an Internet portal with information on the subject of allergies .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVL - organizational structure of the BVL
  2. BVL - organizational structure of the BVL
  3. Law on the establishment of a Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL Law - BVLG)
  4. BVL - History of the BVL. Retrieved December 3, 2019 .
  5. Deletion of Section 2 Paragraph 2 BVLG old version
  6. Supplement to § 2 BVLG by Art. 2 No. 2 of the law amending the Animal By-Product Disposal Act and amending the BVL Act of 4 August 2016 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1966 , PDF).
  7. bvl.bund.de: Journal for Consumer Protection and Food Safety ( Memento from October 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Report on the first edition from 2006 at chemlin.de: Journal for consumer protection and food safety ( Memento from September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Action plan against allergies successfully implemented ( Memento of December 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Communication from the BMEL of January 4, 2013.