EFSA meets with industry associations
Enhancing dialogue with applicants was discussed in a meeting in Brussels on 2 October between EFSA, stakeholder organisations and representatives of the European Commission.
EFSA organised this meeting with 17 associations representing applicants and industry operating in various regulated product areas. The Authority aims to develop a more interactive and timely evaluation process that stimulates a customer-oriented approach for regulated products. As recommended in a 2012 External Evaluation of EFSA and endorsed by EFSA’s Management Board, the Authority is committed to duly informing and engaging with all those affected by EFSA’s work while safeguarding the independence of its scientific advice.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss various aspects of EFSA interaction with industry applicants during the life-cycle of applications. Discussion included the development of specific guidance documents in the regulated product areas and the benefits of constructive and transparent cooperation between risk managers, risk assessors and stakeholders during such processes. To enhance communication, EFSA suggested holding annual meetings with industry associations, similar to those the Authority has held with environmental NGOs. Increased dialogue between risk managers and risk assessors during the formulation of the mandates was also discussed. EFSA clarified that pre-submission meetings with individual applicants is not among the services EFSA can offer for the foreseeable future. However, EFSA proposed possible alternative initiatives as part of a multiannual project to develop a customer-oriented approach for regulated products.
Many of the issues discussed were mentioned in a letter that eleven industry federations addressed to EFSA suggesting ways to improve its communication with applicants to improve the quality and the efficiency of the assessment of regulated products.
The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere and marks an important step in enhanced dialogue among the parties. While EFSA will continue to develop such initiatives, all the parties agreed on the paramount importance of scientific excellence and independence of EFSA’s risk assessments. The discussions will contribute to the development of EFSA’s customer oriented approach and feed into the Open EFSA initiative that aims to further open up the Authority’s processes and make them more understandable to stakeholders.