The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is tightening food safety measures by creating fourteen new committees to provide expert advice on food, feed and consumer product safety.
The BfR undertakes risk assessment work on behalf of German government departments such as the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, and European agencies including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
A spokesperson at BfR confirmed to FoodProductionDaily.com that the committees have been established as part of the organisation's on-going work within the fields of food safety and consumer protection.
Committe will enhance science content
The committees have been appointed to enhance the scientific content of the BfR's opinions, ensure that information provided is of the highest level, and provide a pool of experts that can be called on at short notice if problems suddenly arise.
"The committee's set up at the BfR enable the Institute to raise the scientific quality of its opinions through external expertise," said BfR in a statement.
The new committees include nutrition, dietetic products, novel food and allergies; genetically modified food and feed; contaminants and other undesirable substances in the food chain; food additives, flavourings and processing aids; wine and fruit analyses; biological hazards and exposure assessment and standardisation.
BfR initiative will support EFSA
BfR has recently undertaken a project to support the development of the EFSA European Food Consumption Concise Database, which is being created to act as a screening tool for preliminary exposure assessments by EFSA Scientific Panels and European experts.
With an overview of consumption trends EFSA will be better equipped to tackle the diverse needs of the various topical areas it covers.
In turn BfR is supporting member states that need professional and technical help in the transfer of their data.
BfR says that about ten external experts will be appointed to each committee, working independently to outside interests and on a voluntary basis.
The experts come from universities, regional control bodies, trade associations, consumer protection associations and private laboratories.
The selection panel included members of the BfR Scientific Advisory Council, the BfR Governing Board and the chairpersons of the Senate Commission on Food Safety and on Substances and Resources in Agriculture of the German Research Foundation.
First committee meetings
The first committees, for Consumer Products and Genetically Modified Food and Feed, met on 24 April 2008.
It is planned that all of the committees will meet about twice a year, following this first meeting.