Food Law News - EU - 1999
13 December 1999: FOOD AGENCY - Scientists recommend Food and Health Authority to advise the EU
Commission Press Release (IP/99/973), 13 December 1999
Scientists recommend Food and Health Authority to advise the EU
The report «A European Food and Public Health Authority : The future of scientific advice in the EU » was presented last week by its authors, three members of the Scientific Steering Committee of the EU to Commissioner David Byrne, responsible for Health and Consumer Protection. The three Professors recommend the creation of a European Food and Public Health Authority (EFPHA). This new authority should be an independent body taking on board many of the features of an inter-institutional model (such as OLAF) while also drawing upon certain features of an Agency such as the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA). This model should ensure that the new Authority is not isolated from the European Commission, Council and European Parliament, and can interact efficiently with them.
Commissioner Byrne welcomed the independent expert report: "I have read the report with great interest and appreciate the many valuable ideas. I would like to thank the three professors for their excellent work done. I would like to take on board many of their suggestions in the forthcoming White Paper on Food Safety."
In May 1999, the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection asked three eminent Professors, members of the Scientific Steering Committee of the European Commission, to reflect on the current system for the provision of scientific advice to the Commission, in the light of the first year and a half of operations within the new structure of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection.
Their mandate foresaw three main tasks, namely to reflect on the purpose of the EU scientific advice system, to analyse the generation of scientific advice and to present options and recommendations for the organisation of scientific advice in the future.
The three Professors, Prof. W. Philip James, Prof. Fritz H. Kemper and Prof. Gérard Pascal, worked entirely independently of the Commission. They were only provided with secretarial assistance from the Directorate-General to fulfil their mandate.
The report recognises a lack of consumer and industry confidence in the current system. It identifies a need to communicate more effectively and to show how the scientific risk assessment system links with both the effective management of crises and the steady pursuit of higher health and environmental standards.
The suggested food and public health authority should be mainly responsible for the following tasks according to the report :
- The provision of scientific advice on all health issues (food, non-food products, environment, public health) excluding drugs and veterinary drugs approvals currently handled by EMEA
- The development of an effective system for monitoring European public health
- Policy analysis in terms of risk evaluation to allow an efficient link and interaction with risk managers (Commission, Parliament and Council)
- Research policy development in co-operation with the Directorate-General for Research and the Joint Research Centre to allow a coherent research program of relevance to public health and food safety to be undertaken at the European level
- information and communication on health issues
- a key role in crisis management at the European level.
This report is available on the internet at:
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