Regulation on Food Law and the creation of a European Food Authority
The Council formally endorsed a political agreement on the proposed regulation on food law and the creation of a European Food Authority. The text approved by the Council takes account of the majority of the Parliament's amendments in first reading which were accepted by the Commission. The Commission was however unable to support the agreement on account of the approach retained by the Council for the composition of the Authority's Management Board. The Council will adopt its common position at a forthcoming session after the finalisation of the text, and will forward it to the European Parliament for the second reading, in accordance with the co-decision procedure.
The creation of the European Food Authority is one of the main policy measures contained in the Commission's January 2000 White Paper on food safety and subsequently approved by the European Council.
Its mission will be to provide the Community with the independent scientific and technical advice that it requires to underpin policy and legislation in all areas of food safety. Its aim is to contribute to a high level of health protection, taking into account animal health and welfare, plant health and the environment. It will not be a regulatory body for rule-making, control or enforcement; responsibility for these will remain with the relevant Community institutions and the Member States.
The structures of the Authority are designed to ensure the realisation in practice of a number of important objectives - independence, transparency, scientific excellence - as well as close cooperation with the competent bodies in the Member States. It shall comprise a Management Board, and Executive Director and his/her staff, an Advisory Forum involving the competent bodies in the Member States, a Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels.
The Authority will also have an explicit duty to address and identify and resolve diverging scientific opinions at Community or Member State level. Key to the restoration of consumer confidence, the Authority will give clear and publicly accessible information on all matters on food safety. It will also be entrusted with the collection and analysis of data and with the identification of emerging risks. Central to its functioning is the promotion of networking among organisations operating in the field of food safety.
The draft regulation also aims to provide a comprehensive basis for food law in the Community, establishing general principles and requirements for food law, general obligations of food trade as well as common provisions on transparency.
Community Registration of Bavarian Beer
The Council adopted by a qualified majority, with the Danish, Finnish and Swedish delegations voting against and the Austrian delegation abstaining, the Regulation supplementing the Annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin. It adds the name "Bayerisches Bier (PGI)" as a protected geographical indication under the heading beer from Germany to the Annex of Regulation 1107/96.