Rebuilding European consumers’ confidence in the supply chain is a key challenge facing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), according to its tenth anniversary report, which also set out its achievements over the past decade.
In addition to “deepening public confidence in the food chain”, the European food safety watchdog faced three other challenges. Those were: strengthening the dialogue with risk managers, building the EU’s risk assessment community and maintaining standards in times of economic austerity.
Meeting those challenges would depend on maintaining the quality of its communication, said EFSA.
Reviewing its achievements over the past 10 years, the organisation highlighted helping to significantly reduce the number of human Salmonella cases in the EU, assessing more than 3,000 health claims, and re-evaluating the safety of food colours.
'A landmark year'
Meanwhile, the Annual Report described 2012 as “a landmark year”, which built on the achievements of the previous decade.
During the year significant progress had been made in key scientific areas such as: risk-based approaches to meat inspection, chemical mixtures, and guidelines to assess risks related to animal welfare, claimed the report .
The document also detailed progress it said had been made in relations with stakeholders, cooperation with partners, and in reinforcing authority’s measures to ensure the independence of its scientific work.
EFSA identified specific research topics where the its scientific work programme had made progress last year. Those included: work on the re-evaluations of the sweetener aspartame and the food contact material bisphenol A.
It also highlighted risk assessments of three neonicotinoid pesticides, linked by some studies to falling bee numbers and research focusing on low-dose effects and endocrine active substances.
“In addition, EFSA’s data collection and monitoring work in key areas such as foodborne diseases and pesticide residues in food made an important contribution to the protection of public health,” it said.
Alongside scheduled tasks, the authority had answered requests from the European Commission to advise on the Schmallenberg virus and Salmonella Stanley and to assess a long-term feeding study of GM maize NK603 and glyphosate.
Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, EFSA’s executive director, said: “The past year again illustrated the scale and variety of scientific advice that EFSA is called upon to deliver.”
“I would like to thank all those who contributed to EFSA’s work in 2012 – scientific experts, partner EU institutions, Member State bodies, stakeholders, scientific organisations and networks, and EFSA staff – without whose support we could not have delivered our ambitious work programme,” she added.
The full report is available here .
EFSA’s top four challenges
- Deepening public confidence in the food chain
- Strengthen the dialogue with risk managers
- Build the EU’s risk assessment community
- Maintain standards in times of economic austerity.
EFSA’s top three achievements
- Helping to significantly reduce the number of human salmonella cases in the EU
- Assessing more than 3,000 health claims
- Re-evaluating the safety of food colours.
Source: EFSA’s tenth anniversary report