The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is splitting its scientific panel on food additives in an effort to speed up the rate at which it handles its growing workload, which accounts for around 50% of the inquiries it receives for scientific advice.
The AFC Panel, which looks after food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food, will be split by mid-2008 to increase EFSA’s pool of expertise and to accelerate processes in a field where output is particularly high.
The new panels will comprise: a panel on food additives and nutrient sources added to food (ANS); and a panel on food contact materials, enzymes, flavourings and processing aids (CEF).
EFSA has launched a call for experts to constitute the two new panels, which will have a maximum of 21 members each. EFSA will appoint experts in all relevant fields, including toxicology and risk assessment, food consumption and exposure assessment, food technology and microbiology. Applications are invited by February 15 2008.
The decision to divide the AFC Panel in this way was also made because work in this area is set to increase further with the adoption of EU legislation in the pipeline. These include the ‘food improvements package’, which covers food additives, enzymes, flavourings and food ingredients with flavouring properties, and new regulations on active and intelligent food packaging and recycling of plastic food contact materials.