The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was established in 2002; the legitimate basis for establishing of the Authority was Regulation No. 178/2002/EK, of European Parliament and Council laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety.
Chapter III of the Regulation envisage EFSA duties, structure and basic principles of activity with regard to providing scientific information as well as the duties of independence, transparency and confidentiality.
EFSA is the main food safety risk assessment institution in the European Union; the primary “consumer” of the product of the authority if the European Commission which makes changes in legislative acts on the basis of the results of studies performed and risk assessment made.
By cooperating with national institutions and other organisations operating in food sector, EFSA provides scientific advice to the institutions of the European Union and the member states of the European Union in the matters that have a direct or indirect influence on the safety of food and animal feed, as well as in such areas as animal health, welfare and plant protection. The main areas of EFSA competence are risk assessment and notification about risks. Particularly, the duties of EFSA include the provision of scientific justification to risk managers (the European Commission, the European Parliament and Council) for the purpose of the development of legislation and establishing regulations.
EFSA has prepared a brochure about EFSA activities Science Protects the Consumer
More detailed information about EFSA is available at EFSA webpage ABOUT EFSA
The Management Board was established in 2002, and it ensures that the EFSA operates efficiently and sufficiently, fulfills the duties envisaged by Regulation No. 178/2002/EC and operates in accordance with the order of European and National institutions, cooperation institutions and consumers.
The Management Board of EFSA consists of 15 members who are appointed by the Council of Europe upon consultations with the European Parliament. Four members of the Management Board must be experienced in organisations representing consumers and other parties interested in the circulation of food. The members of the Management Board are chosen in accordance with high standards of competence and by ensuring possibly widest geographic representation of the European Union. The Management Board organises its meetings several times a year and the primary task of the board is to approve the budget and working programs of EFSA, to supervise their implementation, as well as to appoint the executive director, the Scientific Committee and the members of the Scientific Panels.
In June 2016, for the first time since the establishing of the Management Board of EFSA, a representative from Latvia has been elected as the member of this board – the director of the Institute of Food Safety, Animal health and Environment “BIOR”, Dr.med.vet., professor Aivars Bērziņš. The term of powers of the approved Management Board of EFSA is from July 1, 2016 till June 30, 2020. Next four years the director of the Institute BIOR, Aivars Bērziņš, will work together with newly elected colleagues from France, Finland, Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Lithuania.
Executive Director is an official representative of EFSA and is in charge of all its operational matters, personnel. Upon consulting the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU member states, the executive director prepares annual EFSA working program. The executive director of EFSA is appointed by the management board of EFSA for the term of five years.
Since May 2014, Dr. Bernhard Url has been appointed as the executive director of EFSA. Previously, from 01 July 2006 till 01 September 2013, C.Geslain-Lanéelle was appointed as the executive director of EFSA.
The aim of the Advisory Forum is to establish close link between EFSA and national institutions of the member states in the areas of risk assessment and notification. The representatives of the Advisory Forum act also as EFSA advisors in scientific matters, and assess work programs, priorities, provide information about new possible risks as soon as possible. The Advisory Forum fosters cooperation between the experts of the member states and exchange of information regarding to the matters of food safety with the aim to establish a united network of scientific experts in Europe.
The EFSA Advisory Forum consists of the representatives from national food safety institutions of all member states which perform functions similar to EFSA. The Advisory Forum is led by the executive director of EFSA. The representatives of the European Commission take part in work of the Advisory Forum in the status of observers. The members of the Advisory Forum do not have the right to be involved in the management board of EFSA at the same time.
Latvia is represented in the Advisory Forum by the head of the Laboratory of Food and Environmental Investigations of Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment “BIOR”, Dr.chem. Vadims Bartkevičs.
Advisory Forum Working Group on Communications
The Advisory Forum Working Group on Communications is a network of the Advisory Forum. Within the framework of this network, the representatives of national food safety institutions together with EFSA share the best praxis regarding communication related risks in food chain and foster the dissemination of common opinion in the European Union. The Working Group plays an important role in case of food related emergency situations by coordinating the exchange of information among the member states and provides common opinion and advice to victims and other consumers.
The Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels which make the assessment of all risks in the entire food chain and develop methodology for risk assessment are responsible for the scientific work of EFSA.
In total, EFSA has 10 Scientific Panels established that are responsible for scientific work and risk assessment in the specific area:
Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW);
Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS);
Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ);
Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF);
Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM);
Panel on Additives and Products or Substances Used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP);
Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO);
Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA);
Panel on Plant Health (PLH);
Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR).
EFSA Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels are formed by highly qualified experts – scientists in the area of risk assessment. All experts are selected in open selection procedure by taking into account proven scientific performance as well as the experience in risk assessment and in the evaluation of scientific work and publications. Scientific Panel regularly establishes working groups by the involvement of “external scientists” with necessary professional experience in the respective matter. Each panel has several working groups established. These groups are usually established for solving specific and detailed matters (for example, there are working groups on nanotechnologies, nitrates, PAH in food, animal cloning, heavy metals in food and etc.). The working group develops scientific report, and the scientific opinion of EFSA is based on this report. The panel regularly meets in plenary sessions, discuss topical works as well as accepts EFSA scientific opinion. The scientific opinion is the official EFSA notification and summary of the results regarding a specific matter which has been entrusted to the panel for examination and assessment. On the basis of this opinion, the European Commission makes decisions and prepares legislation.