EFSA in 2014: protecting consumers, looking ahead

EFSA delivered another significant programme of scientific work in 2014, and embarked upon a series of rolling projects that will help take the Authority to new levels of efficiency, innovation and transparency. 

From acrylamide to zoonoses, EFSA’s work covered the A to Z of food safety issues, work that is described in detail in the Authority’s Annual Report for 2014, which is published today. More than 500 scientific outputs contributed to evidence-based decisions and improved consumer protection throughout the year.

Highlights of the year ranged from leading work on the potential risks of antimicrobial resistant pathogens, providing emergency responses to the Ebola crisis, outbreaks of hepatitis A, avian flu and African Swine Fever, to scheduled assessments that evaluate the risks of, and claims made for, regulated products. 

The year 2014 was a period of change and renewal within and beyond EFSA. Bernhard Url was appointed Executive Director of EFSA, and the Authority completed the renewal of two of its scientific panels and initiated the renewal process of the remaining eight plus its Scientific Committee. Further afield, a new cohort of MEPs arrived at the European Parliament, and Vytenis Andriukaitis became the EU’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

Openness and engagement are at the heart of everything EFSA does, and in 2014 these principles were further applied with the establishment of the Open EFSA initiative, which aims over the coming years to increase society’s stake in EFSA’s work by sharing access to risk assessment processes and to data. 

This, and other crucial projects – such as the Scientific Committee’s review of how EFSA ensures it deals with uncertainty in its scientific work – will help to make the Authority more accountable and are in line with the EU’s Digital Agenda, which champions the contribution that open access to scientific data can make to nurturing public trust. 

Other projects related to information technology and communications, such as improvements to the EFSA website and the way the Authority engages with its partners, also came on stream, helping to ensure that EFSA continues to be an effective and progressive servant of the European food safety system.