Public Consultation on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain



The General Food Law Regulation (EU rules on food and feed safety along the production chain) is the cornerstone of the EU regulatory framework covering the entire food chain: 'from farm to fork'.

The law requires food and feed law to be science-based. This is known as the risk analysis principle, which consists of three separate but interrelated components: risk assessment (scientific advice), risk management (measures taken on the basis of scientific advice, other legitimate factors and where appropriate the precautionary principle) and risk communication (interactive exchange of information on risks throughout the risk analysis process). For this purpose, the General Food Law Regulation established the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as an independent scientific agency to provide the scientific opinions (risk assessment) which form the basis for the measures taken by the EU in the food chain.

Since the adoption of the General Food Law Regulation in 2002, the political, economic and societal context has evolved, affecting consumers' perception and expectations in relation to the food chain.

Whilst EFSA's work in the area of risk assessment has not been subject to significant criticism, citizens have put into question the risk assessment based on studies provided by the industry and this in particular where the industry seeks an authorisation, e.g. for  pesticides, GMOs etc.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on i) the transparency and independence of the EU risk assessment system with respect to the underlying industry studies and information on which EFSA's risk assessment/scientific advice is based; ii) risk communication; and, iii) the governance of EFSA, in particular the involvement of the EU Member States (MS) in the EU risk assessment system.

The consultation is also a follow-up to the commitments made by the Commission in reply to the European Citizens’ Initiative on glyphosate.

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