European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
1 May 2018
What does EFSA do?
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides independent scientific advice on food-related risks.
EFSA issues advice on existing and emerging food risks. This advice informs European laws, rules and policymaking – and so helps protect consumers from risks in the food chain. Its remit covers:
- food and feed safety
- animal health and welfare
- plant protection
- plant health.
EFSA’s work involves:
- gathering scientific data and expertise
- providing independent, up-to-date scientific advice on food safety issues
- communicating its scientific work to the public
- cooperating with EU countries, international bodies, and other stakeholders
- boosting trust in the EU’s food safety system by providing dependable advice.
EFSA is governed by a management board with 15 members. The board members act in the public interest. They do not represent any government, organisation or industry sector.
The board sets EFSA’s budget and approves its annual work programme.
EFSA’s executive director is responsible for operational and staffing matters. He also draws up the annual work programme together with the Commission, the European Parliament and the EU countries.
The advisory forum advises the executive director. In particular, it advises him on drafting the proposal for the work programme.
The forum is made up of representatives of national bodies responsible for risk assessment in the EU countries. There are also observers from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and the Commission.
EFSA’s scientific work is led by its scientific committee and its 10 panels, made up of leading scientists.
If more specialised knowledge is needed, a panel may set up a working group. These groups include both EFSA scientists and external experts.
EFSA also works closely with other EU agencies active in the field of health and safety issues relating to humans, animals and the environment:
- European Medicines Agency (EMA)
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- European Environmental Agency (EEA)
- European consumers – among the best protected and informed in the world about food chain risks
- EU institutions and national governments in charge of managing public health issues and authorising the use of food and feed products.