New three-year term for EFSA Scientific Committee and Panels
Today, 191 scientists start working for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Committee and Panels for a new three-year mandate. This follows a decision by the EFSA Management Board on the nomination of experts for the new term. In addition to the Scientific Committee and eight Panels in place since June 2003, a new Panel on plant health starts its activities today .
According to EFSA’s Founding Regulation, EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels are renewed every three years, with current members either replaced or re-appointed. In November 2005, EFSA launched a call for expressions of interest to a broad scientific audience in Europe. When the call closed in February 2006 it had attracted a total of 874 applicants.
A rigorous selection procedure was co-ordinated by EFSA scientists and reviewed by an external Evaluation Committee  comprising three independent experts to draw up a shortlist of candidates. The Management Board took a final decision on the composition of the Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels following careful consideration of a proposal presented by EFSA’s Acting Executive Director, Dr. Herman Koëter.
The full list of the chosen scientific experts who accepted their nomination, together with the report outlining the procedure followed for evaluation of the candidates.
Stuart Slorach, Chairman of the Board, expressed his satisfaction with the high level of scrutiny with which the experts were selected and the resulting list of designated scientists: “I am very pleased that EFSA has been able to attract such highly qualified scientific experts for its Scientific Committee and Panels, which form the backbone of its work in providing scientific opinions and advice on matters related to food and feed safety. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Scientific Committee and Panels for their important contribution to EU Food Safety over the past three years.”
The new Panel on plant health was created to tackle an increasing number of requests for scientific assessment of plant health risks. Numerous plant pests arrive in the European Union each year which can cause harm to plants, plant products or biodiversity. The brief for the new Panel is to peer review and assess the risks presented in order to help secure the safety of the food chain. The Panel brings together a wide range of expertise in the various fields relevant to plant health. It will hold its inaugural meeting in June 2006.
The external evaluation committee included 3 independent external experts: Dr. Mac Johnston, Dr. Robert Kroes and Dr. Arpad Somogyi. These experts were chosen based on the following criteria: outstanding scientific reputation; knowledge of the Authority and its working procedures; and impartiality.