Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2018

BEUC Publication, 20 June 2018

RISK ASSESSMENT - BEUC Publication: Closing the Trust Gap Between Consumers and the EU Food Regulatory System

BEUC’s view on the Commission’s proposal on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain

Closing the Trust Gap Between Consumers and the EU Food Regulatory System

A copy of this document is available on this site (click on image)

The following is the opening summary from the publication:


BEUC welcomes the European Commission’s move to make EFSA’s scientific assessments more transparent. Nevertheless, we recommend strengthening the proposal with the following clarifications/changes:

 It must better ensure that public health prevails over commercial considerations when examining industry confidentiality requests. No important piece of safety-related information should be hidden away from the public; • It must allow independent scientists to quote or re-use the data disclosed by EFSA without having to ask for industry’s permission; • It must foresee meaningful sanctions for industry applicants failing to notify EFSA of studies commissioned to support a regulatory dossier; • If pre-submission meetings between EFSA staff and industry applicants are introduced, the proposal must guarantee that they are held in full transparency and that they do not lead to any shift in the allocation of EFSA internal resources, at the expense of other activities of public interest; • The changes proposed to the governance of EFSA must not jeopardise the clear separation between risk assessment and risk management.

We also support the Commission’s intention to make risk communication more effective. It will help streamline the interaction with stakeholders throughout the risk analysis process. We recommend that the future ‘General Plan for Risk Communication’ should:

Consider that stakeholders have different resources and capacity to contribute to the policy-making process. It should strive to compensate for this imbalance; • Apply to communication at times of crisis, by laying down rules on how consumers and the public need to be informed by competent authorities in the event of a food (safety or fraud) crisis; • Ensure that EU risk-managers better explain to the public the political choices (including possible trade-offs) behind any policy decision about food.

Yet, to rebuild consumer trust in the EU food regulatory system in the long run, we urge EU decision-makers to take good note of the other key findings of the General Food Law fitness check and follow-up on them within the best delays. This includes making healthy and sustainable food choices a higher priority, filling the regulatory gaps for increased consumer protection and choice, and ensuring an effective and harmonised enforcement of EU food law.

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