The Division for Environmental Health of the Croatian Institute of Public Health is the central point in the network of public health institutes that implement measures to protect human health from the environmental factors with potentially harmful effects. The main tasks of the network are monitoring, evaluation, prevention and correction of environmental factors with harmful effects, as well as support to activities that improve the quality of the environment, and promote healthy lifestyles and use of healthy technologies. The measures apply to all types of environmental factors (biological, chemical, physical, etc.), and all environmental media that man comes into contact with – water, food, air, soil, etc.
In this regard, the Division focuses on the following activities:
- Monitoring, study and evaluation of the safety and quality of food that is produced and marketed in the Republic of Croatia, as well as imported;
- Monitoring, study and evaluation of the safety of drinking water, the quality of waste, surface and recreational waters, as well as the quality of public water supply throughout the Republic of Croatia;
- Monitoring, study and evaluation of the safety of general use items: materials and articles in contact with food, consumer products and cosmetic products;
- Monitoring the nutritional status of the population, in terms of energy supply and individual nutritional deficits, especially in vulnerable groups (children, women and pregnant women, the elderly).
The laboratories of the Division are accredited in line with the HRN EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard and authorized as official laboratories (Ministry of Agriculture) for the needs of sanitary inspections in areas of food, water and general use items (Ministry of Health).
Some of the Division’s laboratories are authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health as reference laboratories for the following areas:
a) pesticides (cereals, animal feed, fruits and vegetables) (Ministry of Agriculture),
b) food microbiology (in collaboration with the Croatian Veterinary Institute) (Ministry of Agriculture),
c) heavy metals in food and animal feed (Ministry of Agriculture),
d) genetically modified organisms (Ministry of Health), and
e) general use Items (Ministry of Health)
Experts of the Division also participate in the formulation of public health policies, legislative and regulatory measures in the area of their activity, as well as opinions and standpoints of the Republic of Croatia, as members of the European Commission working groups, and in scientific research projects on a national and international level. The Division also acts as an expert-methodology centre for the coordination and professional supervision of the environmental health services in county institutes of public health, and training analysts for independent laboratory work.