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The History of the Founding of LAVES

What can I still eat? Surely everyone has asked himself this question at one time or another. In particular, crises such as BSE or MKS have led to great uncertainty among consumers. In order to minimise risks and respond to the concerns of consumers, the Government of Lower Saxony has taken action. LAVES – the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety – was set up on 1 July 2001 after being approved by the Lower Saxony Parliament on 13 March 2001. Up until 31 December 2001 it was temporarily headed by the district government office Weser-Ems. Since 1 February 2002 Prof. Eberhard Haunhorst has been president of LAVES.

Integrated in LAVES are the six former government inspection offices for food and utensils together with the institute for veterinary diagnostics, as well as the specialist departments responsible for providing expert and operational consulting state-wide. Moreover, on 1 January 2003, the Feed Institute was refounded. The Institute for Apiculture was incorporated on 1 January 2004. The Head Office has been in Oldenburg since 1 January 2002 – as a result of the strong focus of food industries in northwest Lower Saxony.

The aim of LAVES is to determine health risks for consumers at an early stage, and to minimise these effectively and immediately. Reliable controls, transparent quality assurance systems, secure methods, as well as independent and objective information, are among the most significant instruments in achieving this goal.

LAVES has been the means of creating a stronger focus on all areas of health-related consumer protection. The official feed monitoring service, which is administered by LAVES, plays a very significant role in the safety of food products which are derived from animals. Through LAVES, the cooperation of the Lower Saxony Authorities with German and European State Authorities is also facilitated – the EU rapid alarm system for food products and fodder and the veterinary services task force for combating animal diseases are responsibly established at LAVES. Also, shifting the management of the former government investigation offices from a regional to a state-wide level is a further important step towards improving consumer protection. Thus, LAVES centrally manages official investigations.

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