The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) is an inspection and administrative body and the Competent Authority (CA) in Iceland in the field of food safety, animal health and welfare, control of feed, seed and fertilisers, plant health and water for human consumption. The Authority is responsible to the Ministry of Industries and Innovation and its primary roles are:
- Food safety legislation and control
- Control of primary production of animal products, including fish and fish products
- Control of meat processing and dairy plants
- Import and export control of all foodstuffs
- Supervision of domestic food control by municipal authorities
- Animal health and welfare legislation and control
- Plant protection services
- Feed, seed and fertiliser services
- Meat classification services
- Administration and management
Iceland is one of the Contracting Parties to the European Economic Area, hereinafter referred to as the EEA Agreement, which is an agreement between the EFTA States and the Community and the EU Member States. Consequently, Iceland has implemented the EU legislation on veterinary matters, foodstuffs, feed and other food chain related issues. The obligations of Iceland, like other EFTA States which are parties to the EEA Agreement, include the application of this legislation by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (CA) and the municipal food control authorities (LCAs). With respect to the EEA Agreement, the Authority is the CA for the legislation applicable to Iceland in Annex I to the EEA Agreement, and the food legislation in Chapter XII of Annex II to the Agreement. The same applies to the EEA legislation on water for human consumption.
The head office of MAST is in Selfoss, about 50 km east of the capital city of Reykjavík. The Authority has 6 District Offices around Iceland where District Veterinarians and Official Veterinarians render services in accordance with the relevant legislation. At the District Office in the capital area, MAST is responsible, in addition to veterinary and food services, inter alia, for services to individuals and businesses engaged in import and export. MAST is also responsible for the operation of several Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) for control of import of foods from third countries (non EEA States) and for the supervision of 10 independent municipal Environmental and Public Health Offices which are responsible for food safety controls at the retail level.
MAST is the national European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Focal Point and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Contact Point.
The Institute for Experimental Pathology at Keldur, University of Iceland, cooperates with MAST on risk assessments regarding animal diseases and offers services in research of biology and diseases of animals and humans, in applied veterinary research, in health control and in diagnostic services for animal diseases. In addition to laboratory services, Matís (Icelandic Food Research), an independent research institute under the same ministry, also offers risk assessment regarding food safety.
MAST also cooperates with the Chief Epidemiologist regarding communicable diseases, the Directorate of Customs in its operations concerning import and export, the Environment Agency regarding animal by-products (ABP) and the Icelandic Medicines Agency regarding evaluation and registration of veterinary medical products.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority’s role is to promote the health and welfare of animals, plant health and the safety and quality of food by enforcing legislation and providing education and services to the fisheries and agricultural sectors, businesses and consumers.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority seeks to protect the health of plants and animals, to ensure the quality of fish and agricultural products and to promote food safety and consumer awareness in a global market where rapid development and innovation call for adaptability and vigilance.