EFSA today inaugurates its official seat in Parma

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today inaugurates its official seat in Parma. The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, the Chairman of EFSA’s Management Board, Stuart Slorach, the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou and high-level European, national and local authorities will preside over the inauguration at the Palazzo Ducale in Parma. The setting up of EFSA’s permanent seat in Parma represents a historical milestone in the establishment of this European body dedicated to providing independent scientific advice on food and feed safety in order to more fully protect and serve the European consumer. Silvio Berlusconi and Stuart Slorach will unveil a special EFSA plaque at the Palazzo Ducale, an important symbol of the Authority’s integration in a community, region and country where food is such an integral part of culture and daily life.

Established by EU Regulation in January 2002, EFSA began its activities in temporary premises in Brussels until the European Council decided on Parma as its permanent seat on 13 December 2003. Since then, EFSA has worked actively, with the support of the Italian authorities to relocate to Parma while continuing to expand its organisation, recruit staff and ensure timely delivery of scientific advice on food and feed safety.

Commenting on EFSA’s inauguration, the Executive Director, Geoffrey Podger said: “We are very pleased to set up our permanent residence in Parma and are grateful for the overwhelming support given to us by the Italian authorities in establishing the Authority here. Our staffing levels are expected to double over the next two years, reaching up to 300 by the end of 2006. The Authority’s establishment in Parma will provide us with a solid base from which to pursue the expansion of our organisation and activities.”

Set up in May 2003, EFSA’s Scientific Committee, Expert Panels and related working groups have published to date over 200 opinions following requests of the EU institutions for assessments concerning risks associated with the food chain. In 2004, almost 400 scientific meetings took place to debate issues and prepare opinions. All of EFSA’s scientific advice is published on the Authority’s website and since its establishment over 60 press releases have been issued to further disseminate findings. EFSA counts today 150 staff from 15 Member States, and the Authority will complete its move to Parma by October 2005.

Notes to editors

In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides objective scientific advice on all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food and feed safety, including animal health and welfare and plant protection. EFSA is also consulted on nutrition in relation to Community legislation.

EFSA was created in 2002 following a series of food scares that caused the European public to voice concerns about food safety and the ability of regulatory authorities to fully protect consumers. Established and funded by the European Community as an independent agency, EFSA operates in full openness and transparency and is dedicated to providing objective scientific advice on risks associated with the food chain.

EFSA’s remit falls into two areas: risk assessment and risk communication. In particular, EFSA’s risk assessments provide risk managers (European Commission, European Parliament and Council) with a sound scientific basis for defining policy-driven legislation or regulatory measures. EFSA’s work contributes to ensuring a high level of consumer protection with regard to food and feed safety, and to building and maintaining consumer confidence in the risk assessment process.

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