Food safety issues are often global issues. International trade, travel, migration and even climate change can impact food safety regulation at local, national and regional levels.
This is why EFSA has developed close working contacts with food agencies in different parts of the world and with international organisations. EFSA’s Multiannual Programme on International Scientific Cooperation 2014-16 describes how this works in practice.
EFSA supports the European Union in its international commitments by providing scientific and technical advice to United Nations Codex Alimentarius-related activities.
- This involves ties with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committees and contacts with third countries outside the EU.
- When the European Commission requests our support, EFSA experts participate in meetings organised by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This is a body set up under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme to develop food standards, guidelines, codes of practice and related texts. EFSA has contributed to various relevant meetings, for example, on the principles of risk analysis and on biotechnology.
- We also work with international organisations responsible for providing scientific advice or setting international standards. These organisations include FAO, WHO, the International Plant Protection Convention, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
EFSA continues to build relationships with its counterparts around the world.
- Sometimes this is done through formal agreements with regulatory agencies with a risk assessment mandate, such as in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the USA.
- Cooperation with counterparts in many other countries (including Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan) is growing by exchanging experience, work programmes and views in food safety risk assessment.
Before joining the EU, applicant country must meet certain requirements. Food safety issues play an important role in accession negotiations for EU membership.
- EFSA has worked with the EU enlargement countries since 2005. Currently candidate countries are: Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Albania. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo* have the status of potential candidates.
- Extensive contacts exist between EFSA and the food safety authorities in these countries under the EFSA Pre-Accession Programmes funded from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). The Programmes aim to increase preparedness of the national authorities for their possible future co-operation with EFSA as full members of the EU.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
- Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance
- Implemented activities under the EFSA Pre-Accession programme 2011-2014
- Pre-Accession programme reports
- Candidate country profiles
- Potential candidate countries
Food safety is an important element of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The EU works with its southern and eastern neighbours through the ENP to achieve the closest possible political association and the greatest possible degree of economic integration.
- Neighbourhood countries’ awareness of EU regulations and procedures on consumer safety – including food crisis response – and the free movement of food/feed are crucial for protecting consumers while promoting regional trade. They require information about EFSA, risk assessment and risk communication, and the European food safety system to align their systems, as far as possible, with those in Europe.
- EFSA started to cooperate with the EU neighbouring countries via the Programme funded from the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI) in February 2014. Through this Programme EFSA is actively pursuing greater integration of the following countries into its work: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine**, Tunisia and Ukraine.
** This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue