AGES, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety GmbH, was founded 20 years ago. The extensive range of activities is very much evident at the Linz site: 167 employees handle a wide variety of tasks in the areas of food safety, food security, public health, animal health as well as radiation protection and ensure the health of humans, animals, plants and the environment 365 days a year. "For two decades, AGES has been an indispensable regional partner for the authorities, businesses, agriculture and, above all, consumers," emphasized Governor Thomas Stelzer at the opening of the AGES Linz 20th anniversary celebration.
"Over the past 20 years, AGES has developed comprehensive expertise on numerous health and nutrition topics. With their studies, research, projects and initiatives, the employees make a very important contribution to the health of the population as well as to our living environment. Especially in the Corona crisis, the cooperation with the AGES teams was and is crucial, and I would like to express my sincere thanks for this ongoing cooperation," said Governor Stelzer.
"As one of Europe's leading expert:in organizations, we have been contributing to minimizing risks as well as ensuring food security for 20 years," said AGES Managing Director Anton Reinl. Whether pathogens in humans, animals and plants, counterfeit drugs, antibiotic resistance, residues in food, soil and seed testing or radiation and climate protection: "We are involved in averting and containing possible risks to humans, animals and plants and thus ensuring greater safety for consumers in Austria," said Thomas Kickinger, the managing director responsible for technical agendas. "To ensure this, we analyze, monitor, evaluate, research and communicate 365 days a year."
Together with Governor Thomas Stelzer, the AGES directors visited our food security facilities such as the "gene bank" for plants or the Linz potato trials, learned about the latest in animal disease diagnostics and feed analysis, saw high-tech in food and water testing, and entered another Linz focus, radon monitoring in Austria, with the "Radon Haus."
Afterwards, Governor Stelzer opened the official event with 200 guests of honor from politics, authorities and administration as well as business, research and social partners and AGES employees. Regional Minister of Agriculture Michaela Langer-Weninger, Regional Veterinary Director Thomas Hain, Chamber of Labor President Andreas Stangl and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Food Wolfgang Benischko discussed perspectives, opportunities and challenges in the 21st century and regional strategies for overcoming them.
The AGES risk barometer "Health and Environment" was presented as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of AGES. Austrians:inside have confidence in their food: almost three quarters are not worried about safety. Food safety and nutritional quality and supply currently cause them the least concern. The highest concerns are currently environmental pollution, climate change and social inequality. Concerns about energy supply, epidemics and animal diseases have increased in particular.
With the Risk Barometer, we have been surveying the risk perception of the Austrian population since 2017. AGES enjoys a very high level of trust: In the perception of Austrians:inside, AGES takes a pioneering role when it comes to communicating risks on the topics of climate change, the environment, health and nutrition. The topic of the "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.