The Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE) is a federal authority. In all, it employs approx. 1,200 staff throughout Germany and at sea. In the areas of agriculture, fisheries and foodstuffs the BLE fulfils a wide range of tasks.
It is a central implementing authority within the scope of business of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).
The rules of the common EU agricultural and fisheries policy and the related organisation of controls shape the work of the BLE, which also acts as EU accredited paying agency. Within their areas of activity, the BLE control services and its fishery protection vessels ensure that statutory rules are complied with.
In many cases the BLE also acts as nationwide accreditation body on behalf of private inspection bodies, for example for the monitoring of organic farms, or for sustainable production of biofuels and bioliquids for generating electricity and heat.
The BLE furthermore collects data and information on prices with regard to topics related to agriculture and food, and which are processed for the BMEL, for providing information, for statistical purposes, and also for political decision making.
As project initiator on behalf of the BMEL, the BLE manages, technically and in terms of organization, numerous national and international projects in the fields of food, agriculture and consumer protection.
It also acts as provider of management services to the BMEL and authorities within the scope of business of the BMEL.
The BLE was established with effect from 1 January 1995 by merging the former Federal Agency for Agricultural Market Organization (BALM) and the former Federal Office of Food and Forestry (BEF).
The President, as the head of the BLE, manages BLE operations and represents the BLE externally.
The Administrative Council is composed of representatives from the industry, state and federal administrations, and consumer groups. It advises the Federal Office in connection with its specific tasks. It brings forward proposals to the BMEL where matters relating to the BLE’s specific tasks are concerned. In all issues of principle the Administrative Council is consulted by the BMEL, and especially for the nomination of the president and the vice president, or in case of amendments to the statutes.
In addition, the Council decides on the establishment of advisory boards whose activities it coordinates. The advisory boards directly advise the BLE’s administrative organs in matters relating to each of their specific fields.
Headquarters, Branches and Offices
The BLE is based in Bonn-Mehlem and operates branches and offices across Germany. BLE branches and relocated units are located in Hamburg, Munich and Weimar. Offices responsible for issues related to quality control are based in Bremerhaven, Frankfurt/Main (airport, wholesale market), Hamburg (harbour, wholesale market) and Cologne.