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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety

14.02.2014 // The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) carries out independent risk assessments for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) across the Authority’s field of responsibility as well as environmental risk assessments of genetically modified organisms for the Directorate for Nature Management.

The committee has 90 members, most whom have their daily work as scientists in various academic institutions. VKM is appointed and financed by the Ministry of Health and Care Services and is structured very similar to the European Food safety Agency (EFSA) with a Scientific Steering Committee and 9 panels. The committee i an independent body . Neither the Food Safety Authority nor the Ministries can instruct VKM on scientific issues. 

VKM has produced several  reports of relevance for the objective of safe seafood. Such as risk assessment on mercury in cod, dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in freshwater salmon in the North and the South of Norway,  polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in mussels in North-Norwegian fjord systems, health effects of n-3 fatty acids as constituents of food supplements and fortified, as well as processes in the value chain and risk assessment of decomposition substances and oxidation products in fish oils. The reports are essential in the preparation of or for the rescinding of local nutritional advice.  

VKM has also conducted an assessment of the nutritional benefits of consuming seafood compared with the health risks associated with the intake of contaminants and other undesirable substances that seafood may contain. The report is important documentation when providing information to the population on the healthy intake of fish in their diet. The assessment of the dietary and toxicological actors shows that Norwegians in general should eat more fish, both lean and fatty. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has currently asked the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) for an update of the benefit risk assessment.

EFSA has initiated national Focal Points to act as an interface between EFSA and the different national food safety authorities, research institutes, consumers and other EFSA related stakeholders. In Norway VKM has been appointed as the Focal Point for this scientific co-ordination work. 



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