EFSA sets out goals for contributing further to animal health in Europe

EFSA has just published a paper on its role in contributing further to the improvement of animal health in Europe. The paper sets out EFSA’s key objectives under the four pillars of the EU Animal Health Strategy for 2007-2013.

Given the critical relationship between animal welfare, animal diseases and food safety, EFSA is uniquely placed to take an integrated approach to animal health as its remit covers the safety of the whole food chain. EFSA’s scientific advice to risk managers addresses these closely connected fields based on the wide range of expertise of its scientific experts and the latest scientific knowledge available.

Many animal diseases and infections pose a risk to consumers via the food chain. Well known examples include Salmonella, Brucellosis and BSE which can contaminate foods and cause illness among consumers. Outbreaks of animal diseases such as Bluetongue can also have serious socioeconomic and environmental consequences.

EFSA is highly active in providing scientific advice and technical support to risk managers on all of these issues. The many other published examples include EFSA’s work on Avian Influenza, pig and fish welfare, animal feed contamination, animal transportation and the import of wild birds into the EU.

The new paper includes a number of goals to further reinforce EFSA’s integrated approach in the animal health area. These include:

  • Delivering the best scientific advice at the right time and in the most appropriate manner for risk managers
  • Decreasing the time needed for scientific advice by enabling rapid data exchange between EFSA and relevant partner organisations, including Member States and the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office and Community Reference Laboratories
  • Providing scientific support and analysis for EU surveillance programmes for animal diseases, zoonoses and animal welfare
  • Providing scientific support for EU crisis preparedness
  • Avoiding unnecessary divergence in opinions between EFSA and other relevant organisations such as national authorities
  • Mobilising and coordinating scientific expertise throughout the EU on issues within the remit of EFSA

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