This month marks the 10th anniversary of the European Union’s General Food Law and the establishment of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The publication of EFSA’s new Science Strategy for 2012-2016 highlights how the Authority has grown over time into its pivotal position within the European food safety system and lays out the vision for its scientific development for the next five years.
The main objectives of the Science Strategy are: to further develop EFSA’s scientific excellence and other core values, such as openness, transparency, independence and responsiveness; to optimise the use of European risk assessment capacity across the EU; to develop and harmonise risk assessment methodologies and approaches to assess risks associated with the food chain; and to strengthen the scientific basis for risk assessment and risk monitoring.
The Science Strategy was the subject of an extensive consultation process involving EFSA’s Scientific Committee, its Advisory Forum, staff, its stakeholders as well as a public consultation.
Commenting on the importance of this new document, EFSA’s Director of Science Strategy and Coordination, Hubert Deluyker stated, “The quality of our science is central to everything we do and with this ambitious strategy, EFSA can continue to enhance its support of the European food safety system in the years to come. Looking forward, along with our partners, our role is one of leadership in the development of state-of-the-art risk assessment methodologies in key areas while meeting the needs of risk managers in the most effective way. Our relationship with the Member States will continue to be critical both from a data collection and information exchange perspective - ensuring a high calibre of evidence can be applied to risk assessment - and from a capacity building perspective where EFSA strongly supports the development of risk assessment skills across Europe.”
EFSA has already begun to implement the objectives of the Science Strategy: a workshop for EFSA’s scientific staff is taking place this month to begin the process of executing the science strategy; a dialogue with key partners in the EU institutions and Member States is also scheduled for early in the year to map out a route for increasing further the scope for interaction and cooperation; and last but not least, EFSA’s management will aim to give priority to fulfilling the objectives of the Science Strategy through resource allocation and the development of longer-term multiannual planning.
Throughout 2012, EFSA will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the European Union’s General Food Law and the Authority’s establishment by highlighting how it helps to protect European consumers from food-related risks and to support healthy dietary choices. EFSA’s 10th anniversary activities will be launched on 30 January 2012.