European Food Safety Authority
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|European Food Safety Authority|
|Motto||Committed to ensuring that Europe's food is safe|
|Formation||January 2002 (established)|
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is an agency of the European Union that provides independent scientific advice and communication on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain, created by European Regulation 178/2002.
The Authority’s work covers all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food and feed safety, including animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health and nutrition.
EFSA supports the European Commission, European Parliament and EU member states in taking effective and timely risk management decisions that ensure the protection of the health of the European consumers and the safety of the food and feed chain.
The Authority communicates to the public in an open and transparent way on all matters within its remit.
EFSA is composed of four bodies:
The Management Board sets the budget, approves the annual work programme, and is responsible for ensuring that EFSA co-operates successfully with partner organisations across the EU and beyond. The Executive Director is the legal representative of the Authority, and is responsible for operational matters, staffing issues and drawing up the annual programme in consultation with the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States.
The Executive Director is assisted by an Advisory Forum composed of representatives of national bodies responsible for risk assessment in the Member States, with observers from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and the European Commission.
EFSA’s scientific opinions and advice are provided by the Scientific Committee (SC) and Scientific Panels, each within their own sphere of competence. EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels are composed of highly qualified experts in scientific risk assessment.
Funding EFSA activities
EFSA is an independent European agency funded by the EU budget that operates separately from the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States. Its budget for 2008 was € 65.9 million.
EFSA has been criticised for their alleged overregulation, and promotion of conflict of interest. For example, Corporate Europe Observatory and Earth Open Source have documented cases where EFSA has used industry scientists and information in risk assessments used by EU institutions and national governments, accusing the agency of basing their decisions on industry data rather than independent science. They also claim that many EFSA panel members have ties with biotech, food, or pesticide companies, paving the way for blatant conflicts of interest.
Notes and references
- "How the European Union works", booklet made by the European Commission
- Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety
- The EU-US Dispute over Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms, Plants, Feeds, and Foods – Case Summary
- More conflicts of interest criticism for EFSA in new report
- Food safety agency's reliability faces fresh criticism