The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was created as part of a comprehensive programme to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply. EFSA provides independent scientific advice on all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food safety. EFSA’s remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. The Authority communicates on risks in an open and transparent way.
EFSA’s risk assessments provide a sound foundation for European policies and legislation and support the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States in taking effective and timely risk management decisions. Collection and analysis of scientific data, identification of emerging risks and scientific support to the Commission, particularly in case of a food crisis, are also part of EFSA’s mandate, as laid down in the founding Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of 28 January 2002.
EFSA is governed by an independent Management Board whose members are appointed to act in the public interest and do not represent any government, organisation or sector. EFSA’s Management Board ensures that the Authority functions effectively and efficiently. The Board is responsible for establishing the Authority’s draft budget and work programmes, monitoring their implementation, and agreeing to internal rules and regulations. It also appoints EFSA’s Executive Director and the members of the Scientific Committee and panels.
EFSA’s Executive Director is the legal representative of the Authority and answers to the Management Board. Appointed for five years, which are renewable, the Executive Director is responsible for all operational matters, staffing issues and drawing up the annual work programme in consultation with the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States.
EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels deliver scientific advice for Europe’s decision-makers in the areas of food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. Within its remit, EFSA also assesses environmental safety. A growing part of the Authority’s work relates to the safety assessment of regulated products, substances and claims submitted for authorisation in the EU, thereby supporting agrofood innovation.
EFSA’s Scientific Panels are composed of highly qualified, independent scientific experts with a thorough knowledge of risk assessment. All members are appointed through an open selection procedure on the basis of proven scientific excellence. The Scientific Committee and the Scientific Panels are supported by EFSA staff from three scientific directorates.
EFSA’s Advisory Forum connects EFSA with the national food safety authorities of all 28 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, with observers from Switzerland and the European Commission. The Forum is at the heart of EFSA’s collaborative approach to working with the EU Member States. It constitutes a mechanism for exchange of information on potential risks and the pooling of knowledge.