The European Food Safety Authority is the keystone of European Union risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientific advice and clear communication on existing and emerging risks.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was formally set up in January 2002, following a series of food crises in the late 1990s, as an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain. EFSA was created as part of a comprehensive programme to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply.
In the European food safety system, risk assessment is done independently from risk management. As the risk assessor, EFSA produces scientific opinions and advice to provide a sound foundation for European policies and legislation and to support the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States in taking effective and timely risk management decisions.
EFSA’s remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. In all these fields, EFSA’s most critical commitment is to provide objective science-based advice and clear communication grounded in the most up-to-date scientific information and data.
EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels carry out EFSA’s scientific risk assessment work. They are composed of highly qualified risk assessment experts from all across Europe with a range of relevant expertise. All members are appointed through an open selection procedure on the basis of proven scientific excellence, including experience in risk assessment, and peer-reviewing scientific work and publications. The Scientific Cooperation and Assistance Directorate supports EFSA’s risk assessment activities and manages projects in the areas of scientific co-operation with Member States, data collection, emerging risks and assessment methodology. It also deals with specific risk issues by directly involving experts from Member States.
EFSA works by openly consulting with its many stakeholders and proactively seeking input from interested parties on its work and activities. It also works closely with national food safety authorities across the EU, and co-operates with the European Commission, the European Parliament, other EU bodies and international organisations active in food and feed safety.
EFSA’s Advisory Forum connects EFSA with the national food safety authorities in all EU Member States, and meets periodically with interested parties, non-governmentalorganization(NGOs), consumers associations, economic operators and scientific professionals to exchange opinions and points of view.
One of EFSA’s priorities is enhanced cooperation and networking in Europe. In line with article 36 of the Founding Regulation and its implementing rules, a list of organisations capable of assisting EFSA in its tasks was approved by EFSA’s Management Board. The list is based on nominations made by Member States. It is an important practical tool for the implementation of the strategy for cooperation and networking with the Member States.
In line with scientific cooperation and networking, EFSA also works with National Focal Points who act as the interface between EFSA and national food safety authorities in the EU Member States.