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EFSA today. To contribute to ensuring Europe’s food is safe, EFSA is:. a key actor in the EU food safety system committed to excellence in risk assessment sustained by a robust governance an advocate of scientific cooperation leading on risk communications

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EFSA today

To contribute to ensuring Europe’s food is safe, EFSA is:

a key actor in the EU food safety system

committed to excellence in risk assessment

sustained by a robust governance

an advocate of scientific cooperation

leading on risk communications

constantly evolving to meet new challenges

EFSA today


EFSA is a key actor in the EU food safety system

EFSA today


  • the European reference body for risk assessment

  • covers the entire food chain – from farm to fork

  • committed to ensuring food and feed safety

  • an independent authority

EFSA today

EFSA is tasked to

  • Provide independent scientific advice and support for EU law/policies on food and feed safety

  • Provide independent, timely risk communication

  • Promote scientific cooperation

EFSA today

…but not to

  • Enforce food safety legislation

  • Take charge of food safety/quality controls, labeling or other such issues

  • Substitute national authorities

EFSA today

EFSA was set up in January 2002 as

  • an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain

  • part of a comprehensive program to:

    • improve EU food safety system

    • help ensure a high level of consumer protection

    • restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply

EFSA today

...with headquarters in Parma

  • 2005: moved to Parma from Brussels

  • 2003: scientific work starts

  • Since 2003 more than 3,300 scientific outputs including 2,330 scientific opinions

  • Budget 2014: EUR 79.6 million

  • Over 450 staff, 60% engaged in science

EFSA today

…among which independence

Robust set of mechanisms and processes to safeguard EFSA’s independence

EFSA policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes (2011)

Review (2014)

Implementing rules (2012)

EFSA today: priorities and challenges


EFSA is committed to excellence in risk assessment

EFSA today

Commitment to scientific excellence means

The quality of our science is central to everything we do

Strengthen the scientific basis for risk assessment and monitoring


Further develop EFSA’s scientific advice

Optimise the use of risk assessment capacity in EU

Develop and harmonise methodologies to assess risk in the food chain

EFSA today: priorities and challenges

... scientific excellence in risk assessment

  • > 3,300 outputs

  • > 2,330 opinions

  • - 500th opinion: 2007

  • - 1000th opinion: 2009

  • - 2000th opinion: 2012

  • Scientific expertiseacross Europe

  • Impartiality of scientific advice

  • EFSA Journal, Scientific Colloquia, international cooperation…

EFSA today

... With focus on openness and transparency

  • Procedure for Expert selection

  • Accepted mandates (Register of Questions)

  • Names of panel and working group members

  • Declaration of interest of experts

  • Agendas of the panel’s plenary meetings

  • Minutes of the panel’s plenary

  • Minutes of working group meetings

  • Consultations

  • Adopted opinions

  • Press releases and web stories

  • Key topics

EFSA today

... And on fit-for-purpose delivery

  • Mandates

    • Clear EFSA response

  • Adequate timing

    • Meeting deadlines for mandates / prioritization

  • Resources

    • Right resources for each task (Panel, working groups, EFSA staff, outsourcing, Member States)

  • EFSA today

    ... with special focus on urgent requests for scientific advice

    • 2010

    • Volcanic ash

    • Chlormequat in table grapes

    • 2009

    • Nicotine in wild mushrooms

    • 4-methlybenzophenone in breakfast cereals

    • 2008

    • Dioxins in pork meat

    • Melamine in infant milk

    • Mineral oil in sunflower oil

    • 2007

    • Melamine in food and feed

    • 2013

    • Hepatitis A

    • Salmonella Mikawasima

    • Phenylbutazone in horsemeat

    • Xylella fastidiosa in olive trees

    • 2012

    • “Schmallenberg" virus (SBV)

    • 2011

    • STEC in vegetables

    EFSA today

    03 advice

    EFSA is supported by a robust governance

    EFSA today

    EFSA Management Board… advice

    • 14 Members

      • Selected on basis of individual expertise and competence through an open call

      • Appointed by the Council of the EU based on suggestions from Parliament

      • Members do not represent EU Member States and are appointed in a personal capacity

      • Wide range of backgrounds

    • 1 Member representing the European Commission

    EFSA today

    … whose role is to advice

    • Primary role: ensure Authority functions effectively and efficiently

    • Establish budget, agree work programmes and monitor implementation

    • Ensure Authority stays within remit of Founding Regulation

    • Appoint Executive Director, Scientific Committee and Panels

    • Audit Authority’s operations

    EFSA today

    EFSA Advisory Forum... advice

    • Representatives from national food safety authorities/bodies with role equivalent to EFSA

    • One representative per Member State; may bring specialist support

    • Commission represented as observer

    EFSA today

    ... whose role is to advice

    • Advise EFSA on scientific matters, work programme/ priorities and emerging risks

    • Ensure close collaboration between national bodies and EFSA

    • Assist in resolving contentious scientific issues and avoiding divergent views on food/feed safety issues

    • Avoid duplication of scientific effort

    • Play a key role in sharing and disseminating information

    • Assist in increasing scientific co-operation between Member States

    EFSA today

    Scientific Panels and Scientific Committee... advice


    The Scientific Committee

    EFSA today

    …Carefully selected advice

    • EFSA seeks high-calibre experts to serve on its Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels

    • The recruitment call is open to scientists from all Member States of the European Union.

    • EFSA chooses candidates with proven excellence in one or more of the scientific fields within the Authority’s remit.

    • Selection is carried out through an open, transparent procedure.

    EFSA today

    04 fork

    EFSA is an advocate of scientific cooperation

    EFSA today

    Within Europe... fork

    • National food safety agencies / research organisations (Art. 36)

    • 400 research institutes

    • 1,500 experts

    • EU Agencies:

    EFSA today

    Outside Europe... fork

    • Working with national food safety organisations:


      • Health Canada

      • Food Safety Commission of Japan

      • Food Standards Australia

      • New Zealand Food Safety Authority

      • Working with international organizations:

    EFSA today

    ...in a open, transparent and inclusive manner fork

    • EFSA Founding Regulation 178/2002

    • Support of stakeholders for establishment of EFSA

    • Management Board decisions on transparency and openness

    • Stakeholder involvement right from the start

    EFSA today

    ... translated into key actions fork

    • Board meetings: open to public and on-demand (proceedings)

    • Public Consultations and technical hearings

    • Bilateral meetings

    • Speaking engagements

    • Pre-notification of scientific opinions and press releases(only Member Statesand few selected stakeholders)

    EFSA today

    ... and a stakeholder Consultative Platform fork

    • Mission: assist EFSA with the development of its overall relations and policy with regard to stakeholder involvement

    • Members: EU-wide stakeholder organisations representing consumers, food chain operators and other NGOs active within EFSA's mandate

    • A forum for regular dialogue and exchange

    • Almost 10 years of operation

    EFSA today

    05 fork

    EFSA is leading on risk communications

    EFSA today

    Risk communications is fork

    EFSA today

    ... And EFSA’s mandate is fork

    To communicate food and feed safety advice to its principal partners, stakeholders and the public at large in a timely, clear and helpful way.

    EFSA today

    ... implemented through a thematic approach fork

    Integrated communications plans:

    • across all tools and channels

    • themes reflecting public health priorities

    • continous “campaign” approach with key milestones (eg. zoonoses: annual report, baseline surveys, opinions of BIOHAZ, AHAW,…) covering all relevant aspects of EFSA’s work in an area

    EFSA today

    ... with clear target audiences fork

    Who does EFSA communicate with?

    EFSA today

    … and a coherent approach fork

    Advisory Forum Working Group on Communications (since November 2003):

    • Network of communications units from EFSA, Member States and EU Commission

    • Key to promoting coherence in communications

    • Co-ordination of risk communications; exchange information; evaluation of efforts; development of best practices

    • Early warning on emerging/topical issues

    • Pre-notification of press releases

    EFSA today

    ...and social media fork

    • Launched in Jan 2012

    • Followers: 5,800

    • Re-tweets: 700

    • Launched in July 2012

    • 32 Understanding science videos, 13 corporate videos

    • 1,000 subscribers



    Data as of March 2014

    EFSA today

    06 fork

    EFSA is constantly evolving to meet new challenges

    EFSA today

    The nature of EFSA work is changing... fork

    • More complex regulatory work, not always predictable

    • Development of guidance documents for applicants (8 in 2007, 64 by January 2012)

    • Better service for applicants: Applications helpdesk

    EFSA today

    ... its methodology is strengthened fork

    • Evaluation of the safety and environmental impact of new products

      • e.g. novel food, additives

    • Development of new risk evaluation methods

      • e.g. nanotechnology, active and intelligent packaging

      • e.g. ‘-omics’, less animal testing

    • Evaluation of efficacy/ benefits

      • e.g. pesticides (2011), claims

    EFSA today

    ... contributing to EU food safety system fork

    • Dedicated to scientific excellence for 10 years: EFSA’s opinions have underpinned the EU’s decisions on food and feed safety, animal health & welfare, nutrition and plant health

    • Protecting Europe’s 500 million consumers: Europeans enjoy one of the highest levels of food safety in the world

    • Working together, working for Europe: Continued commitment, co-operation with national counterparts and the European Commission

    • Shaping the future of risk assessment together with Member States

    EFSA today

    ... to respond to future challenges fork

    • Integrated multi-disciplinary advice

    • meat inspection

    • nutrition

    • antimicrobial resistance…

    • Improve mid-term planning

    • Reinforce risk assessment capacity (scientific cooperation)

    Development of harmonised methodologies

    Optimise internal scientific expertise

    Collection and analysis of high-quality data

    Risk assessment training

    Proactive approach to emerging risks

    EFSA today