EFSA Board looks forward to 2005 and further expansion of its scientific activities

At its first open meeting held today in Dublin Castle, the European Food Safety Authority’s management Board considered the Authority’s 2005 Management Plan and further development of its scientific activities. The Board also reviewed the Authority’s 2003 activities and accounts.

"2005 will be another important year of growth for the European Food Safety Authority,” said EFSA Management Board chairman, Stuart Slorach. “Scientific risk assessment and its subsequent communication is our core activity and will be an area of ongoing development and expansion. The Authority’s Scientific Committee and Panels will deliver advice of the highest quality while needing to address an ever-increasing number of questions put forward by our customers. In order to support this work, we will continue to build the Authority’s in-house scientific expertise ensuring that we stay abreast of new developments and apply the highest scientific rigour in all of our work.”

Background

In line with its commitment to openness and transparency the European Food Safety Authority’s Management Board held its first meeting on 10th March at Dublin Castle in Ireland to which public was admitted. This is in addition to its usual practice of broadcasting the meetings on its website. The Board reviewed a number of topics including: an update on the Authority’s activities and planning of its future move to Parma; a draft report on 2003 activities and adoption of the accounts; and consideration of the Authority’s 2005 work programme.

Science is at the heart of EFSA’s activities and future developments. Through its own scientific expertise and the work of its Scientific Committee and Panels, EFSA provides risk assessments on all matters linked to food and feed safety, including animal health and welfare and plant protection. Over 120 questions were received by the Authority in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, the Authority is expected to deliver between 100-200 expert opinions each year.

Four principal objectives underlie the Authority’s scientific activities and work programme:

  1. To provide scientific opinions, guidance and advice in response to questions from the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States.
  2. To assess the risk of, and as appropriate, propose risk-related factors for regulated substances such as food additives, pesticides, GMOs, etc..
  3. To monitor specific risk factors and animal diseases.
  4. To develop, promote and apply new and harmonised scientific approaches and methodologies, by self-assignment of specific tasks and projects.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Authority will expand and consolidate further its in-house expertise and support to the Scientific Committee and Panels. It will also pursue the establishment of scientific expert networks across the Community and beyond. The Authority will play a pivotal role in consolidating the European food safety network of EU institutions and stakeholders in order to provide scientific advice of the highest possible quality and clear communication of existing and emerging risk.