safefood is a multi-disciplinary organisation with an approved complement of 30 staff. Its four directorates are Communications, Corporate Operations, Nutrition, and Food Safety.
safefood was established in December 1999 as the Food Safety Promotion Board. It is one of six North/South Implementation Bodies established under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and given legislative effect on the Island by the North/South Cooperation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, and the British-Irish Agreement Act, 1999.
Funding is provided by the Oireachtas in the Republic of Ireland and by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Seventy per cent of the funding is provided by the Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland, and the balance (thirty per cent) is provided by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.
The functions of the Body are carried out by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) under the policy direction of the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC). There is a twelve-member Advisory Board and a safefood Advisory Committee (SAC) to assist and advise the CEO in the discharge of safefood’s functions.
safefood’s headquarters are in Cork, with an office in Dublin. The approved permanent staffing complement is 30 full-time employees.
safefood's role is to promote food safety and provide nutritional advice on the island of Ireland in accordance with its legislative remit. We achieve this by building an evidence base of sound and authoritative science which we use to influence policy and to promote behaviour change in the overall interests of improved public health.
We have made it a priority to work in partnership with key stakeholders on the island of Ireland and to utilise innovative approaches to support us in:
- communicating clearly, in a direct and supportive manner;
- promoting a better understanding of food safety, nutrition and healthy eating; and,
- encouraging healthier, safer and sustainable food choices by consumers and those involved in the food chain.
Its four directorates are Communications, Corporate Operations, Nutrition, and Food Safety.
The Corporate Operations directorate ensures that safefood complies with all legal requirements and responsibilities from finance, HR and Information Systems and promotes best practice in all areas of corporate policy making and governance.
The remit of the Nutrition directorate is in the nutritional safety of food and the prevention of infectious foodborne diseases through safefood’s communication and research programmes.
The Food Safety directorate undertakes all aspects of food safety as related to food microbiology, chemistry, toxicology and hypersensitivity including scientific assessment, identifying priorities and commissioning research and surveys. Our focus is to support both consumers in the safe preparation of food and those who produce and sell food through awareness campaigns, training and education and dissemination of advice. Specialist scientific support is also provided to other external stakeholders. The Food Safety directorate also has overall responsibility for the research function and the development of the laboratory linkages programme and scientific co-operation.
The Communications directorate promotes the corporate messages of the organisation to a number of key audiences using the most effective channels. The key messages around food safety, food hygiene and nutrition are communicated using a combination of public relations, media relations, advertising, digital and social media marketing, events, direct marketing, publications, sponsorship, website and the safefood helpline.