Legal

Changed on: 15.11.2019

AGES is a limited liability company, wholly-owned by the Federal Republic of Austria. The Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism exercise all shareholder rights in relation to AGES.

AGES provides a variety of services in the fields of public health care, food safety and consumer protection. The legal basis for its work is the Austrian Health and Food Safety Act (GESG), including the relevant laws (such as the Austrian Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act), and all applicable European regulations.

All further legal requirements are governed by the provisions for limited liability companies.



Conditions of Purchase

Conditions of Purchase

The following conditions of purchase apply only to any order made by AGES GmbH in its role as a purchaser.

Should AGES’ general terms and conditions of purchase differ to the general terms and conditions of the contract partner, these terms and conditions shall only be binding if they have been accepted and acknowledged by AGES in writing.

Here you will find the electronic application sheet for deliverers.

Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance broadly describes the responsible management and control of companies. The term Public Corporate Governance is used for governmental institutions, expanding the original term with the criterion of transparency.

In Austria, companies such as AGES fall under the so-called „Public Corporate Governance Kodex“, which was compiled by a working group at the Austrian Chancellery. This codex creates uniform guidelines for public companies aiming to facilitate their control and management.

Corporate Governance Report AGES 2018 (in German)

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

The AGES is established by the Health and Food Safety Act (GESG, BGBl I Nr. 63/2002 idgF) and fulfils the legal tasks listed in particular in § 8 GESG.

In accordance with these provisions, AGES shall act officially on behalf of the competent authorities, in particular the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) and the Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES), but also on behalf of the state authorities within the framework of indirect federal administration as well as the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. AGES advises the authorities, conducts research and prepares expert opinions, studies and test reports on behalf of the authorities.

In addition, AGES determines the maximum residue levels in foodstuffs in accordance with § 4 LMSVG.

In addition, AGES provides BAES and BASG on the one hand and the Office for Veterinary Health Certification on the other hand with all the necessary resources to perform the tasks pursuant to §§ 6, and 6a and 6b (§ 8 para 4 GESG).

The financing of these services in accordance with the statutory mandate is carried out via fixed fees (in particular via fees fixed in accordance with § 6 (6) and § 6a (6) GESG and the material laws such as § 66 LMSVG), as well as through subsidies from the Republic of Austria (§ 12 GESG). The financial management of AGES is subject to control by external auditors as well as by the internal audit department. Furthermore, AGES is audited by the Court of Auditors.

In addition to these statutory activities (sovereign in the broadest sense), AGES is also active in the private sector in accordance with § 8 (7) GESG. The acceptance of orders from third parties must not impair the independence and integrity of AGES with regard to its statutory duties and must be carried out at market prices.

This Code of Conduct describes the principles that guide AGES and are an integral part of AGES's corporate culture. The AGES Code of Conduct forms the basis for our actions and decisions. It is the basis for the moral, ethical and legal conduct of all our employees.

In the event of a violation of legal regulations, internal guidelines, regulations and directives or of the provisions of this Code of Conduct, every employee must expect disciplinary consequences. In addition, violations may also result in criminal and civil law consequences, such as claims for recourse and damages, for the affected person(s).

Our Vision

Life in health for humans, animals and plants.

AGES stands for safe, high-quality food and pharmaceuticals as well as healthy nutrition. From the soil to the plate, we ensure the health of people, animals and plants. As one of the leading European expert organisations, we contribute to minimising the risks in AGES' sphere of activity and to securing the nutritional basis.

AGES regards the fulfilment of legal tasks, the quality of services and a high level of customer orientation as priority corporate goals.

Our Values

Responsible We are responsible for the health of humans, animals and plants. We stand by our actions and decisions.

Objectively We orient ourselves on facts, are impartial and act with integrity.

Competent We do the right things, work service- and result-oriented. As a team, we strive for innovative, interdisciplinary approaches and excellent performance.

Our Objectives

The basic objectives for the AGES are contained in the GESG and in the corresponding material laws. The respective legal bases provide for cooperation with other organisations. AGES contributes to the achievement of objectives in the areas of health, food safety, food security and consumer protection, in particular with regard to

  • Improving the situation regarding communicable diseases in humans
    improvement of the situation regarding food-borne diseases
    further development of the risk-based integrated approach in the human-animal-plant-soil cycle
  • freedom from animal and plant diseases
  • Flawless goods (including feed) and water
  • safe and effective medicinal products and medical devices
  • food security and ensuring the competitiveness of agricultural production through sound agricultural inputs, including feedingstuffs
  • further development of research activities to cope with core tasks and acute/current problems
  • Well-informed economic operators and consumers

We are committed to the principles of objectivity, independence, transparency and profitability.

§ 1 Scope of application

This Code of Conduct applies to all employees of AGES, regardless of the type of employment and hierarchical level.

§ 2 Prohibition of acceptance of gifts

The demand or acceptance of gifts, pecuniary benefits and other personal privileges (these can be gifts, invitations, purchase opportunities at conditions not customary for third parties, interest-free loans, etc.) from customers, parties in administrative proceedings, suppliers and service providers, representatives of interests, parties and other associations with regard to the performance of services is generally prohibited. This prohibition applies regardless of whether it concerns gift acceptance in connection with activities in or without connection to a specific administrative procedure.

Excluded from this is the acceptance of local gifts of low value, unless they are offered regularly (commercially).

The acceptance of gifts of honour, the acceptance of which is subject to courtesy, is also excluded. Gifts of honour are gifts whose ideal value outweighs the pecuniary advantage in such a way that it is clear to everyone from the outset that they are in no way intended to influence the employees (e.g. decorations, rings of honour). Gifts of honour may be accepted in the name of the AGES, but must be delivered to the management immediately. Honorary gifts of minor or only symbolic value may be given by the management to the employee for personal use.

The acceptance of invitations is generally prohibited, except in the case of invitations to conferences or events with an associated supporting programme, which are in the interest of the service or the acceptance of which requires courtesy (representation obligations). These can be accepted if this seems compatible with the respective functions of the employee, the integrity is not endangered and the acceptance does not contradict the regulations concerning the prohibition of the acceptance of gifts. However, such invitations must be reported in writing to the manager and may only be accepted if the manager has agreed.

It is also permissible to accept refreshments served or small low-value canteen meals during meetings or company inspections. In the context of inspections abroad, invitations to meals may also be accepted if refusal of the invitation would be contrary to local manners. This exception must be handled restrictively.

The acceptance of invitations from public institutions is generally permissible.

Offering or accepting money or monetary benefits is not permitted under any circumstances.

As a general rule, the employee is always on the safer side of not accepting any advantages.

§ 3 Conflict of interest

 Private and personal interests and motives or interests and motives of close third parties may impair objectivity and impartiality in the performance of tasks. Such interests or motives may in particular involve financial, economic, political or other advantages for the employee. Since such conflicts of interest cannot always be ruled out, employees are obliged to deal transparently with such issues.

All employees authorised to make sovereign decisions must regularly provide explanations of any grounds for bias. This declaration must also be drawn up if there are no grounds for bias (empty report).

In addition to "objectifiable" professional, financial and family reasons for bias (see also § 7 AVG), the declaration of bias must also mention all other circumstances which could call into question the objectivity to the outside.

Each employee is further obliged to report any current or potential conflicts of interest, even if only the appearance of such a conflict of interest could arise, to the manager, who in turn has to decide on further performance of the duties by the employee concerned. The manager must ensure that conflicts of interest are avoided in the allocation of tasks.

In the event of reasons of bias pursuant to § 7 AVG, employees must immediately arrange for their representatives to be appointed, unless imminent danger makes their actions necessary.

The requirements of the relevant internal procedural instruction SVA_625 "Impartiality and Integrity" must be observed.

§ 4 Secondary occupations

 All types of paid and unpaid secondary employment that may lead to incompatibilities are prohibited for AGES employees, regardless of the type of employment. This applies in particular to activities which hinder the employees in the performance of their official duties, endanger other essential official interests or give rise to doubts as to impartiality and objectivity. All employees must refrain from such paid or unpaid activities of their own accord.

With regard to all other secondary occupations, the reporting and approval requirements in accordance with the requirements of the internal procedural instruction SVA_625 "Ensuring impartiality and integrity" as well as the form "Reporting / Approval of a secondary occupation" F_438 must be observed.

§ 5 Lecture and publication activities

Presentations and publications must not interfere with the fulfilment of statutory duties and/or give the impression of bias. The requirements of the relevant internal procedural instruction "Lecturing and training activities of AGES employees within the framework of AGES events and other organizers" SVA_8028 must be observed.

The overriding obligation to maintain official secrecy is to be observed for all previous day and/or publication activities.

§ 6 Freedom to issue instructions

The AGES experts and experts act as official experts on behalf of the competent authorities, in particular the Federal Office for Food Safety and the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care, and are subject to the duty of truth in this capacity.

Instructions and specifications issued by management must always be followed and implemented. Excluded from this are instructions to experts and consultants on the content of their work as experts or experts as well as their auditor function based on EN ISO/IEC 17020, EN ISO/IEC 17025 as well as EN ISO/IEC 17065 (see also ISO 19011), since an instruction to reproduce facts or technical results untruthfully would constitute a criminal offence in its observance and is therefore not to be followed.

This notwithstanding, the provisions of the B-VG, the GESG and the employment law provisions shall apply.

§ 7 Private conduct

With regard to the private conduct of the employees, it is expected that actions that could be detrimental to the reputation of AGES are not taken and that no actions or omissions are taken that could shake the confidence of the general public.

All employees of AGES are prohibited from exploiting their position in the conduct of private Business.

§ 8 Quality Improvement and Resource Conservation

Employees and, in particular, managers must carry out their tasks while continuously monitoring their work for opportunities for improvement and rationalisation (§ 9 Para. 1 No. 3 GESG). This also means that the ownership of the AGES must be handled carefully. Resources and technical equipment are only intended for official use.

§ 9 (Official) Confidentiality, Data Protection and Protection of Intellectual Property

All employees of AGES are subject to official secrecy in their work in accordance with § 9 GESG in conjunction with § 46 BDG.

The employees of AGES are also obliged to protect the intellectual property of the parties, business partners and customers.

Documents, information and data material are generally subject to confidential treatment (DSG 2000 as amended) and must always be stored securely.

If, for official reasons, information must be taken away from the company location, it must be secured against inspection or access by third parties.

In cases in which AGES uses external experts or (sub)contractors, the obligation of confidentiality is contractually passed on.

Confidential information of any kind obtained in the course of professional activities, including information outside the AGES area of activity, may neither be used for the AGES's own interests or those of third parties nor made accessible to third parties.

The obligation to secrecy shall continue to apply without restriction even after termination of the employment relationship.

This does not affect the obligation to disclose information on the basis of laws, ordinances or international treaties.

§ 10 Equal treatment and human rights

Non-discrimination and equal opportunities as well as tolerance and fair treatment of our customers, partners and each other are part of our basic convictions. Respectful behaviour at the workplace forms the basis for a positive internal working atmosphere and is therefore the elementary prerequisite for professional work.

Based on the UN Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights, human rights are regarded as fundamental values that must be respected and observed by all employees. AGES recognises and welcomes the fact that every human being is unique and valuable and must be respected for his or her individual abilities.

Non-objective preferences and discrimination, in particular on the basis of race, origin, creed, gender, physical and mental disability, other world views and political opinion (unless the latter is prohibited) are not tolerated either internally or externally.

This also applies to sexual harassment in any form, e.g. through obvious advances, humiliating comments, jokes, obscene expressions, suggestive gestures or the display of relevant pictorial material in the premises of AGES.

§ 11 Federal Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct for the Prevention of Corruption, issued by the Federal Chancellery, must be observed by employees.

§ 12 Publication of the Code of Conduct

AGES undertakes to make the Code of Conduct accessible and known to as broad a public and all stakeholders as possible. For this purpose, this Code is published on the website www.ages.at .

§ 13 Prosecution of infringements

Any violation of the provisions of the Code of Conduct, of other internal guidelines and regulations or of statutory regulations that comes to the attention of an employee must be reported immediately to the manager and, in the case of more than minor violations, to Human Resources and the Legal and Insurance Staff Office. Violations of criminal law provisions and/or a concrete code of conduct as well as intentional violations are in any case not to be classified as minor.

Incoming reports are carefully examined and treated confidentially. In order to simplify the investigation process, employees must identify themselves when making a report.

In order to promote open and trusting communication, it is expressly stated that all persons who report any violations of laws, the Code of Conduct or other internal guidelines and regulations will not suffer any negative consequences whatsoever. However, AGES expressly reserves the right to take disciplinary measures against employees who deliberately or grossly negligently make false accusations.

In the event of a violation of the Code of Conduct, the responsible manager will ultimately decide on appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment. The necessity of taking legal action will also be examined on a case-by-case basis.

§ 14 Final provisions

All employees are required to inform themselves comprehensively about the laws, other regulations and internal guidelines and rules applicable to their respective areas of responsibility and, in cases of doubt, to contact the Legal and Insurance Department or Human Resources.

Irrespective of the type of employment relationship, the employees of AGES are subject to the civil servant concept or the office-holder concept of the Criminal Code as amended (§ 74 Paragraph 1 No. 4 and No. 4a StGB). The corruption and abuse of office offences (in particular §§ 302 [abuse of office], 304ff [forbidden acceptance of gifts], 310 [violation of official secrecy] and 311 [false certification and authentication] StGB) are therefore applicable.

The managers of AGES must be role models for their employees in implementing the contents of the Code of Conduct through their practical experience. They must explain the Code of Conduct to their employees, monitor compliance and, if necessary, provide training.

When interpreting the Code of Conduct, employees must also be guided by common sense and question whether, on the basis of reasonable ethical and moral standards, a concrete course of action could give rise to criticism by their superiors. There is no room for discretion in the case of legal regulations.

In the event of ambiguities or questions, each employee has his or her direct superior at his or her disposal with appropriate advice and decision-making aids or can contact the Legal and Insurance Department or Human Resources.

§ 15 Other applicable documents

  • SVA_8028 "Lecturing and training activities of AGES staff at events organised by AGES and other organisers".
  • SVA_625 "Ensuring Impartiality and Integrity" (german)
  • F_438 "Notification/approval form for a second job" form
  • Code of Conduct for the Prevention of Corruption

 

 

Official Signature

Official Signature

The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) uses the figurative mark found in the following PDF document for all officially signed electronic documents.

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