EU Commissioner for Food and Health Security to visit Finland

Ministry of Agriculture and ForestryMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 1.2.2016 10.34
Press release 9/2016

The Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Juha Rehula and the Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Mäntylä will be meeting with the European Commissioner for Food and Health Security Vytenis Andriukaitiks in Helsinki on Monday 1 February. The Commissioner is visiting Finland on the invitation of Minister Rehula and the Minister for Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen.

During the visit, the Commissioner will participate in a seminar organised jointly by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The seminar will deal with the topics of global health and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are a worldwide problem which leads to the death of 25,000 people every year. In addition to the human suffering involved, this means an loss of €1.5 billion annually.

Every course of antibiotic treatment provided increases the amount of antibiotic waste cycling through the ecosystem, and this, in turn, increases the number of resistant bacteria. For this reason, it is important to avoid the excessive use of antibiotics. One way to decrease overuse is to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in treating animals.

There is a relatively low quantity of resistant bacteria in the Finnish food chain. This positive result has been achieved through a combination of tight policies on antibiotics, treatment guidelines, monitoring, cooperation between officials, and research. Minister Mäntylä will be discussing the situation in Finland during her meeting with the Commissioner.

Finland has a significant role in the improvement of health security also on a global level. In the international GHSA Health Security Agenda, the focus is on preventing, detecting, and responding to different kinds of biological threats quickly and efficiently. Two particular focuses of attention are diseases that transfer from animals to humans and the prevention of antimicrobial resistance.

Among other matters, Minister Rehula will be discussing with the Commissioner Finland's genome strategy, social welfare and health care reform, and the Directive on Patient Mobility. While in Finland, Commissioner Andriukaitis will also visit the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira. In addition, he will participate in the national debate on the sustainable development of health and food security taking place on the Viikki Campus of Helsinki University. The debate is open to the media.

Further information:

Ministerial Advisor Ville Korhonen, tel. +358 (0) 295 163 253

GHSA Hanna Mäntylä Juha Rehula Kimmo Tiilikainen