Food safety, nutrition and veterinary public health

Director: Dr. Umberto Agrimi
telephone: +39 06 4990 3420
e-mail: pec:

Promotion and protection of public health through the development, evaluation and application of knowledge, tools and strategies aimed at ensuring food safety, the fight against zoonoses and the adoption of appropriate dietary styles.

Operational units (OU)

Nutrition and health
Director: Dr. Marco Silano
Telephone: (+39) 06 4990 6001

The OU is an innovative, multidisciplinary structure that integrates medical, nutritional, chemical, biomolecular and toxicological skills to develop research, study, evaluation, training and communication activities on the benefits and risks for human health associated with the consumption of food. It is the national scientific reference for information on correct dietary styles, the training of operators of the National Health Service (SSN) on the prevention of nutritional diseases and basic, translational and clinical research on nutrition. It is a scientific reference on the nutritional aspects of products for the food industry. The OU responds to the need to update the technical-scientific reference framework for targeted support to national and European institutions in strategies and programs for the prevention of diseases related to incorrect nutrition and exposure to risk factors. Activities: obesity and chronic degenerative diseases, assessment of nutrient intake and exposure to xenobiotics, irradiated foods (link to the Italian page), food allergies and intolerances, food supplements, mineral waters, risk-benefit assessment, maternal-fetal and infant nutrition (0 -3 years) and in reproductive age, endocrine disruptors (link to the Italian website), LIFE-EDESIA Project (link to the Italian website).

Chemical safety of food
Director: Dr. Paolo Stacchini
phone: (+39) 06 4990 2533

In the context of food safety, the control of chemical hazards is a fundamental prerequisite for ensuring the health of the population. Globalization has changed the methods of production, transformation and distribution of food products, leading, on the one hand, to an increasing diversification of food supply and, on the other, an increase in potential health risks linked to the presence of harmful chemical substances. The presence of involuntary contaminants or substances intentionally added to the various food chains for different technological purposes therefore requires study and research that allows the identification, evaluation and management of health problems related to the consumption of food.

The research activity takes place within various thematic areas concerning chemicals voluntarily used in food production and contaminating chemicals in the study of food fraud. It is focused on the search for strategies and methodological approaches aimed at reducing / eliminating the risks associated with the presence of chemical hazards in food products and assessing their impact on the general population and segments of the vulnerable population.

In particular:

  • chemical contamination of environmental, technological and natural origin of food and feed products and their effects on health
  • assessment of exposure through diet to contaminants and voluntarily added substances
  • safety of food supplements, and food for vulnerable population groups
  • food fraud in relation to the possible voluntary use of potentially harmful substances
  • influence of climate change on food security
  • GMOs in food production chains

National coordination laboratory structures operate within the Organizational Unit in the context of official food and feed control activities.

In particular:

These structures coordinate the control activities carried out at the national level through the use of tools indicated in the Community legislation (evaluation tests, scientific meetings, development of analytical methods, advice to the SSN, training, support for monitoring plans on chemical hazards).

The technical-scientific coordination of the National Food Additives Plan is located at the OU. At the OU, the food and feed review analyses are carried out, as required by current legislation, regarding the presence of chemical substances.

Microbiological food safety and food-borne diseases - One Health MTA
Director: Dr. Stefano Morabito
Telephone: (+39) 06 4990 3081

The Department carries out scientific and institutional research on food-borne diseases, with particular reference to the microbiological safety of food.

The Department carries out activities on food-borne microorganisms and related infections, in particular on Escherichia coli, viral contamination of bivalve molluscs, botulism and Listeria monocytogenes and includes the following laboratories and reference centers for various microbiological hazards:

In addition, the department is also entrusted with the development and maintenance of both the Italian registry of hemolytic-uremic syndrome and the public server ARIES for the analysis of mainly genomics data.

Emerging zoonoses
Director: Dr. Umberto Agrimi
Telephone: (+39) 06 4990 3420

The UO of emerging Zoonosis carries out research on emerging infectious diseases of animals, studies the etiopathogenesis, elaborates possible management strategies and identifies the risks for humans. It develops diagnostic methods for the identification and characterization of different etiological agents (Prions, Norovirus, Rotavirus, Sapovirus, Hepatitis E, Brucella spp., Mycobacterium spp., Bacillus anthracis, Salmonella spp., Bacillus cereus), as well as animal models for the evaluation of possible prophylactic and therapeutic interventions. The OU is home to the Reference Laboratory (LR) for the characterization of strains and the genetics of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (EST) of animals.

In 1999, the OU began its activity on noroviruses interspersed with the European network FBVE (Food-borne Viruses in Europe), which then merged into the European surveillance network of gastroenteritis caused by norovirus, NoroNet.

The OU coordinates the laboratories of the surveillance network of infections caused by rotavirus in pediatric patients, through molecular typing of the viral strains. The network is part of an international collaboration with the EuroRotaNet (European Rotavirus Strain Surveillance Network), which is responsible for providing detailed information on the genotypes of rotavirus co-circulating at the European level.

QMS - Quality Management and Accreditation System
Since 2007 the Department has been accredited by UNI CEI EN ISO / IEC 17025 by ACCREDIA with accreditation number 0779 (link to the Italian page). Accreditation, which is regulated by a special agreement stipulated between DSANV and ACCREDIA, represents the recognition of the conformity of the management system and technical skills of the laboratory with internationally recognized regulatory requirements, as well as mandatory legislative requirements, however not implying liability on the part of ACCREDIA for the results of the tests or any interpretation that may derive from them. Furthermore, accreditation (link to the Italian page) cannot be used for product certification purposes.

The Quality Management System (QMS) applied in DSANV has been developed in compliance with the UNI CEI EN ISO / IEC 17025 standard "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories". The laboratories of the Department engaged in official control activities, the LNR and the EURL that pertain to it, carry out their activity within the departmental QMS.

Since July 2011, in order to guarantee a better service to its users, the Department not only has a fixed accreditation field, but also a flexible accreditation field (link to the Italian page). The flexible accreditation field allows the laboratory, on the basis of skills already evaluated, to directly manage the insertion of new methods based on the same analytical technique among the accredited test methods, and implies not only the technical competence of the laboratory but also its ability to manage the process of applying the flexible accreditation field, and its commitment to offer accredited activities in this area.

The introduction of the flexible accreditation field allows laboratories that carry out analytical activities aimed at the official control of food and feed, to respond, in a more adequate way, to the requests made by the national and / or community health authorities even in emergencies.

The lists of accredited tests with a fixed accreditation field and with a flexible accreditation field are available on the ACCREDIA website (link to the Italian website).

Over the past few decades, consumer health protection has become a priority for the member states of the European Union which has therefore established and strengthened control systems to guarantee food safety.

A key role in this complex organization is played by the European reference laboratories (EURL) and the national reference laboratories (LNR) whose synergistic action is aimed at ensuring that the analytical results obtained in the various fields of competence are uniform and that the assessments on the conformity of food products are reliable and harmonized. At the national level, the interaction between the LNRs and the networks of laboratories involved in the official control is an essential element for the whole food safety guarantee system to be efficient.

The organization of interlaboratory assessment tests plays a particularly important role among the activities provided for in Regulation (EU) 2017/625 for both EURL and LNR.

The SANV Department obtained accreditation according to ISO / IEC 17043 (ACCREDIA accreditation number 0002 P, link to the Italian page) by providing for the creation of a specific functional area dedicated to the organization of assessment tests for food safety. This area, transversal to the whole Department, is able to interact with the various departmental structures thus assuming responsibility for ensuring that the technical and managerial requirements specified in the reference standard ISO/IEC 17043 are met.

Thanks to the organization of interlaboratory evaluation tests with a flexible accreditation field, the SANV Department is able to guarantee a prompt and qualified service whose users are mainly the Ministry of Health, the Regions, the ASLs and the laboratories responsible for the official control of the food (IZS, ASL and ARPA). However, the Department does not exclude that laboratories external to this network may participate in the tests. In fact, annually the program of assessment tests organized by the Department is published on this website (PT program, according to the requirements of the ISO/IEC 17043 standard), the laboratories interested in participating can contact the Operational Manager of the Functional Area Evaluation Tests Dr. Laura Ciaralli (e-mail:, tel. (+39) 06 4990 2492) to find out how and the costs.

The ISO/IEC 17043 accreditation (link to the Italian page) also represents an added value for the customers themselves as it allows them to provide evidence of participation in accredited schemes. This constitutes a guarantee that these schemes are planned and managed in accordance with the provisions of the reference legislation.

PT program according to the requirements of ISO/IEC 17043.

How to submit complaints
The Department manages return information from users as well as complaints for the purpose of continuous improvement. Complaints can only be submitted using the "Complaint submission form" (link to the Italian page) which, duly completed, must be sent only to the following e-mail address: RAQ-DSPVSA

We inform you that:

  • messages forwarded anonymously or in ways other than those indicated above will not be accepted
  • the veracity of the data entered will be checked before starting the complaint resolution procedure
  • the protection of personal data of all subjects using the service is guaranteed
  • the Department undertakes to provide a first response regarding the handling of the complaint within 30 working days from the date of receipt