For 20 years, AGES, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety GmbH, has been ensuring the health of humans, animals, plants and the environment. With state-of-the-art analytics, special diagnostics and comprehensive scientific expertise, 53 employees at the AGES site in Innsbruck handle a wide variety of tasks in the areas of food safety and animal health, public health and radiation protection, as well as food security and agriculture. "With its 'One Health' concept, through which the interrelationships of human, animal and environmental health are recognized and researched as one, AGES has been an indispensable scientific partner in the West for two decades," Tyrol's Health Director Theresa Geley emphasized at the opening of the AGES Innsbruck 20th anniversary celebration.
Especially with its state-of-the-art laboratory and special diagnostics for food and veterinary matters, AGES is a strategically important partner for authorities, for regional producers and recognized companies in Western Austria. "The high food safety standard and animal health status in Austria cannot be taken for granted, but is the result of this good cooperation between authorities, companies and science," said Geley, who expressed her gratitude for the ongoing cooperation with AGES experts in the service of all consumers.
"From pesticide residue analysis for Austria and other member states and contributing to the harmonization of EU-wide analytical quality standards, to microbiological safety criteria in the EU Food Safety Network, to molecular biology monitoring of animal diseases and environmental monitoring of bathing water quality or radioactivity in western Austria, we have built up extensive expertise on numerous health , Food safety and environmental issues," said AGES Managing Director Thomas Kickinger, highlighting the focus of AGES' "small but mighty science site" in Innsbruck.
Especially during the Corona crisis, the site in Tyrol, with its significant laboratory capacities and technical expertise, succeeded in being a crisis-tested, future-proof and strategically important partner with a broadly positioned infrastructure and back-up solutions for the many tasks of AGES, in addition to its demanding routine activities," said AGES Managing Director Anton Reinl. With their scientific studies, projects and initiatives, the employees make an important contribution to the health of the domestic population as well as the rural habitat, Reinl and Kickinger emphasized.
Together, Health Director Geley and the AGES directors visited the laboratories and facilities for food safety, animal health, bathing water investigation, radiation protection and food security. Geley then opened the official event with 90 guests of honor from public authorities and administration as well as business, research and social partners from Tyrol and Vorarlberg, as well as AGES employees. Perspectives, opportunities and challenges in the 21st century as well as regional strategies to cope with them were then discussed by Health Director Theresa Geley, Provincial Veterinary Director Josef Kössler, President of the Chamber of Commerce Christoph Walser and Animal Breeding Director of the Tyrol Chamber of Agriculture Rudolf Hussl.
National and international cooperation partner for food safety
As a food safety site, AGES in Innsbruck is a recognized partner: In addition to good networking with European reference laboratories, agencies and recognized institutions of other EU member states as well as the EU Commission and the European Food Safety Authority EFSA, close cooperation with regional domestic industry and science has existed for two decades. The site is particularly proud of its own apprenticeship program for chemical laboratory technology and an overall young and dynamic team that promotes cooperation with all relevant stakeholders and works on the current state of knowledge and technology. This is demonstrated, for example, by the expertise in residue analysis for active pesticide ingredients, where AGES Innsbruck has an excellent international reputation and acts as a service provider for other authorities throughout the EU.
Contact for all questions of animal health and animal disease control
Since its foundation, the AGES veterinary site in Innsbruck has been expanded into a center for infectious diseases in cattle and small ruminants - with further emphasis on parasitoses and wildlife diseases. In the field of analytics, the only veterinary laboratory in western Austria has the most modern testing facilities at its disposal, so that experts in veterinary medicine can work together with biomedical analysts and micro- and molecular biologists to ensure animal health in western Austria. In Innsbruck, the entire diagnostic spectrum of veterinary medicine is covered, from the pathological examination of animals (cattle, horses, pigs, small ruminants, wild animals, pets, poultry, exotics) to microbiology and parasitology, serology and molecular biological analysis. The cooperation with the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna makes AGES Innsbruck an indispensable building block for maintaining nationwide veterinary care and thus the health of humans and animals in Austria.
European campaign launched on the science behind safe food
The "Health and Environment" risk barometer was presented as part of the AGES 20th anniversary celebration. Austrians:inside have great confidence in their food: almost three quarters are not worried about safety. The highest concerns are currently about environmental pollution, climate change and social inequality. Concerns about energy supply, epidemics and animal diseases have increased in particular. In the perception of Austrians, AGES enjoys a very high level of trust and takes a pioneering role when it comes to communicating risks on the topics of climate change, the environment, health and nutrition. The topic of "science behind safe food" is currently being made visible in easy-to-understand language in an information campaign for the population #EUChooseSafeFood (Safe Food for the EU) in cooperation with the European Food Safety Authority EFSA. For consumers, there are tips for kitchen hygiene and the correct handling of food.