Food Law News - EU - 2002

FSA Press Release, 21 January 2002

FOOD LAW / EUROPEAN FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITY - Agency welcomes the adoption of European Food Safety Authority

The Food Standards Agency today (January 21 2002) welcomed final agreement by the Council of Ministers to set up a new European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The measures introduced will reinforce existing consumer protection and should help re-establish consumer confidence in the food chain in Europe.

The European Food Safety Authority is an intrinsic part of a more strategic approach to food safety issues across the European Union. The UK Food Standards Agency has played a significant role in shaping its development: seeking to ensure that the EFSA is based on values of transparency of process and openness.

The EFSA's primary role will be that of scientific risk assessment - a body at European level giving independent scientific advice. It will need to establish an effective networking system between Member States, to make it easier to pool knowledge and expertise, and help to identify emerging risks before they become a serious food safety problem.

As well as introducing the EFSA itself, the regulation also sets out the General Principles and Requirements for Food Law. These include common requirements for food and feeding stuffs, such as traceability, product recall or withdrawal, and notification of unsafe food to competent authorities.

In addition, the Food Safety Procedures will streamline emergency procedures and the existing rapid alert system for the notification of food hazard warnings to Member States.

The creation of the EFSA fulfills a key objective in the Commission's White Paper on Food Safety.

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