Staff shortages may force the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to abandon some of its planned research and subcontract out other work, according to chief executive Geoffrey Podger.
EFSA continues to have difficulty in recruiting the highly qualified staff it needs, he said. "We have a real problem. We need experts who are in short supply."
The organisation employs around 100 staff, but needs 250 to carry out its activities. Funding was not a problem, said Podger. EFSA's budget had increased from euro 10m last year to euro 29m.
He said he wanted EFSA to get involved at an earlier stage when future scares erupt in Europe so that official responses can be based on good science. He admitted the issue of potentially carcinogenic acrylamide formation in food was "not well handled". And on consumer health he added: "We've a lot to do in terms of making labelling comprehensible."