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EFSA in 2011: 658 scientific outputs; €1.98m in cost savings

11-Jul-2012

EFSA's Parma HQ in Italy
EFSA's Parma HQ in Italy

The European Food Safety Authority  produced 658 scientific opinions, reports, guidance documents and statements ranging from health claim opinions to animal safety assessments to sweeteners and bisphenol A missives.

It said it saved €1.98 million as a result of overall efficiency gains, particularly in specific areas such as interpretation, translation and meeting organization and 58% of its output were related to regulated products, the agency said, “an indicator of the high importance of this activity to EFSA.”

“A significant body of work in this area was the completion of the evaluation of the final series of ‘general function’ health claims. These are claims made for products that relate to growth, development and the functions of the body, psychological and behavioural functions and slimming and weight control. It brings the total number of “general function” health claims assessed by EFSA since 2008 to 2,758 and marks the culmination of more than three years’ work by EFSA’s experts.”

“Europe faced several food safety challenges during 2011, none more so than the E.coli outbreaks in Germany and France,” said EFSA executive director, Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle.

“EFSA’s role in responding to this crisis together with its partners underlined categorically the high value that we add in terms of public health protection in Europe. In addition to the advice we gave on this and many other scientific issues, EFSA took time to further strengthen its internal systems and procedures in relation to independence and governance and to look forward, establishing its scientific priorities over the next five years.”

“Both EFSA’s Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making and its landmark Science Strategy 2012-2016 will contribute to ensuring that we continue to provide the highest quality scientific advice to European risk managers. I’m grateful to all EFSA experts and staff for their contribution to our many achievements in 2011.”

2011 saw the adoption of EFSA’s Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes.

“In total, the Authority screened more than 8,000 Declarations of Interest from external experts and EFSA staff and scrutinised more than 40,000 specific declarations linked to agenda items. By doing so it prevented 356 potential conflicts. EFSA also initiated two ‘breach of trust’ procedures,” the agency noted.

E. coli

In regard to the two E. coli outbreaks inGermany andFrance, the agency said it worked closely with the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention along with the European Commission and French and German authorities to deal with the crisis caused by imported fenugreek seeds.