Another major hurdle cleared in setting up a food safety authority for Europe

‘The Board members are all very enthusiastic about carrying out the important task that faces them,‘ said Stuart Slorach, the newly elected Chairman. ‘I am expecting the job to be both challenging and enjoyable.‘

‘The Management Board is vital element of the new Authority,’ said Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne. ‘I would like to bid a warm welcome to the Board and wish Mr Slorach all the very best for a successful term in office. The next step will be the selection and appointment of the Executive Director, who will carry out the day to day management. This will be done as soon as possible after the board meeting. Once he or she is in place, the Authority will be in a position to recruit the main body of staff and set up the other resources it needs to operate at full power.’

It is of huge importance to everyone in Europe that our food is safe to eat. Following a series of cross border food safety problems in Europe in recent years, including BSE or dioxin, the need for a pan-European approach to protecting our food has become abundantly clear. The creation of an independent European Food Safety Authority will ensure that important decisions can be made for the whole EU, on the basis of the latest and best scientific information from around Europe and the world.

As a result, people in the EU will be able to have far more confidence in what they are eating.

The first big step was the adoption of the Regulation which provides the legal basis for the establishment of the European Food Safety Authority on 28th January, 2002.

The second major step was the adoption of the decision to appoint the Management Board on 15th July. The first meeting of the Board, on 18/19th September, will allow the set up momentum to be maintained. During October, they will select the Executive Director, who will be the person in charge of the day to day operations, and it is expected that he/she will be in post around the end of the year. Once the Executive Director, and Management Board are in place, the Authority will be able to begin building up its resources from the present skeleton level to the full complement of 200-250 by the end of 2005. After this, the next big step will be the set up of the Advisory Forum, which will comprise representatives of national agencies with responsibility for scientific assessment of food safety matters.

This will ensure effective interaction between European and national level experts, organisations and initiatives.

Finally, the creation of the Scientific Committee and Panels of experts will provide the all important fourth cornerstone of the Authority. Their job is of huge importance, because the 8 different panels will obtain and assess scientific information from around Europe and the world in general. As a result of this, the Authority will be able to give independent advice on all matters linked to the safety of European food supply. It will provide up to date information directly to consumers, and other interested parties, in the most effective way possible, in order to reduce the risk of undue food safety concerns arising.

Contents of press pack available with this announcement:

  • Commissioner’s speech.
  • European Food Safety Authority Information Note.
  • Who’s who on the Management Board.