European Food Safety Authority
|Formed||21 February 2002|
|Motto||Committed to ensuring that Europe's food is safe|
|Authority executive||Bernhard Url, Executive Director|
|Key document||Regulation (EC) No 178/2002|
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. EFSA was established in February 2002 and is based in Parma, Italy.
EFSA'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, the European Parliament and EU member states in taking effective and timely risk management decisions that ensure the protection of the health of European consumers and the safety of the food and feed chain. EFSA also communicates to the public in an open and transparent way on all matters within its remit.
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 is composed of four bodies:
- Management Board
- Executive Director
- Advisory Forum
- Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels
The Management Board sets the budget, approves work programmes, and is responsible for ensuring that EFSA co-operates successfully with partner organisations across the EU and beyond. It is composed of fourteen members appointed by the Council of the European Union in consultation with the European Parliament from a list drawn up by the European Commission, plus one representative of the European Commission.
The Executive Director is EFSA's legal representative and is responsible for day-to-day administration, drafting and implementing work programmes, and implementing other decisions adopted by the Management Board. They are appointed by the Management Board.
The Advisory Forum advises the Executive Director, in particular in drafting a proposal for the EFSA's work programmes. It is composed of representatives of national bodies responsible for risk assessment in the Member States, with observers from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and the European Commission.
The Scientific Committee and its Scientific Panels provide scientific opinions and advice, each within their own sphere of competence, and are composed of independent scientific experts. The number and names of the Scientific Panels are adapted in the light of technical and scientific development by the European Commission at EFSA's request. The independent scientific experts are appointed by the Management Board upon a proposal from the Executive Director for three-year terms.
EFSA has been criticised for their alleged overregulation. EFSA has also been criticized for its alleged promotion of conflict of interest; the 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, and also claiming that many EFSA panel members have ties with biotech, food, or pesticide companies.
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
- Peterson, M.J.; White, Paul A. "Case Study: The EU-US Dispute over Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms, Plants, Feeds, and Foods". International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering (9).
- [dead link]"Food safety agency's reliability faces fresh criticism". EurActiv. 15 February 2012.
- Health mark
- European Commissioner for Health
- Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (Council of the European Union)
- European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
- List of food safety organisations