European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was founded following a series of food crises which hit Europe at the end of the 1990s. Its main role is to assess and communicate risks related to the food chain.
It was created as an independent source of scientific and technical advice on food and feed, through Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, the intentions being to protect consumers and to re-establish and maintain their trust in European food products.
EFSA is European Union (EU) agency, and therefore has its own legal framework. Its scientific/technical functions are financed by EU budgets.
Functions and objectives
Risk assessment and risk management are carried out separately in the European food safety system. EFSA, as the risk assessor, provides scientific opinion and a solid scientific basis for the bodies responsible for managing food risks, which take the relevant decisions with a view to maintaining and improving the level of food safety.
EFSA’s advice and communications are objective and scientifically independent and are based on the latest scientific information and knowledge. Its area of action include animal and plant health, biological risks and contaminants, animal feed safety, food ingredients and packaging, nutrition, pesticides and genetically modified organisms.
EFSA uses Scientific Panels in order to carry out its work. These are made up of independent experts and are responsible for risk assessment and preparing scientific opinions. Each scientific panel works in a specific area of the food chain; their work is coordinated by the Scientific Committee.