EU institutions and agencies

EFSA has regular contacts with risk managers and decision-makers in the EU food safety system: European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States. They are the main users of EFSA's scientific advice.

EFSA also has links with other EU agencies and bodies carrying out scientific assessments, research and data collection in areas related to EFSA’s work, e.g. chemical safety, microbiological safety, feed, environment, human and animal health.

EU institutions: risk managers and decision-makers

EU risk managers make European policies and take decisions about the prevention and control of risks along the food chain, including in international contexts such as trade.

  • They adopt or revise European legislation on food or feed safety, decide whether to approve regulated substances such as pesticides and food additives, or develop new policies, for instance, in emerging fields like cloning or synthetic foods.
  • EFSA’s dialogue with EU risk managers ensures its scientific advice is useful, timely and provides a sound scientific basis for risk management of the food chain, in both normal circumstances and during food-related emergencies. Our scientific opinions and advice support risk managers and often feed directly into specific policies and European law.
  • The European Commission plays a key role in risk management at EU-level and is the main requester of EFSA’s scientific advice. EFSA liaises with the Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) to discuss the specific requirements of requests, prioritise scientific work and contribute to meeting legislative deadlines. DG SANTE is represented on EFSA’s Management Board and its officials regularly attend the Authority’s scientific and stakeholder meetings as observers.
  • The European Parliament’s Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee) plays an important role in legislation related to most food sector areas covered by EFSA. Every year the Authority’s Executive Director briefs the ENVI Committee on the Authority’s recent work and future priorities and answers questions from Members of the European Parliament.
  • EFSA is also invited to relevant meetings of other committees (agriculture and rural development, internal market and consumer protection, budgetary control) to offer input to the Parliament on scientific issues within its fields of expertise.

EU agencies, advisory and research bodies

EFSA and other EU agencies regularly cooperate on joint scientific outputs and exchange support or scientific data to feed into each other’s work.

  • EFSA belongs to the Network of EU agencies, which provides a forum for exchanging views and experiences on issues of common interest and new developments.
  • EFSA is member of EU Agencies network for scientific advice (EU-ANSA).

EFSA has cooperation agreements (‘Memoranda of Understanding’) with its three main EU agency partners:

  • European Medicines Agency – to further cooperation in related areas (e.g. veterinary drugs) and optimising risk assessment approaches across the EU.
  • European Chemicals Agency – to further develop information exchange, cooperation and mutual understanding, establish work practices for substances with a food safety context.
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – to increase cooperation and exchange of scientific information on food safety, communicable diseases, infectious diseases prevention and emergency response.
  • EFSA has signed successive Collaboration Agreements with the European Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre, to strengthen cooperation in the fields of food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, plant health and nutrition.
  • EFSA is currently exploring cooperation with EEA in areas of environmental risk assessment.

EFSA shares scientific information with the European Commission regulatory committees, both the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, and the two non-food Standing Committees (on consumer safety, and health, environmental and emerging risks). The Commission has published guidelines for this type of scientific cooperation.