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Consumer Policy & Consumer Health Protection

Scientific Committees

Commission Decision setting up Scientific Committees in the field of consumer health and food safety (Text with EEA relevance)

(Commission Decision N° 97/579/EC of 23 July 1997; Official Journal L 237 of 28.08.97)

THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community,

Whereas sound scientific advice is an essential basis for Community rules governing consumer health, which concerns matters relating to consumer health in the strict sense, but also on animal health and welfare, plant health and environmental hygiene;

Whereas scientific advice on matters relating to consumer health must, in the interest of consumers and industry, be based on the principles of excellence, independence and transparency;

Whereas, besides cases in which consultation of the Scientific Committees is mandatory, these Committees may also be consulted on matters of particular relevance to consumer health and food safety;

Whereas, although many of the problems requiring a scientific opinion fall within the field of competence of one of the existing Scientific Committees, it appears, however, that some problems may concern the competence of several Committees;

Whereas, in order to strengthen their cohesion and at the same time avoid certain overlaps, it is appropriate to redefine the activities of certain Committees;

Whereas by Decision 97/404/EC of 10 June 1997 (1) the Commission established a Scientific Steering Committee to coordinate the work of the Scientific Committees;

(1) OJ No L 169 of 27.6.1997, p. 85

Whereas the Commission must be able to obtain sound and timely scientific advice;

Whereas several Council Directives and a number of Council Regulations provide for mandatory consultation of one or another of the currently existing Scientific Committees and whereas the Commission intends to make appropriate proposals to Council to adapt existing legislation to the this Decision,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

1. The following Scientific Committees are hereby established within the Commission:

  • Scientific Committee on Food,
  • Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition,
  • Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare,
  • Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health,
  • Scientific Committee on Plants,
  • Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products intended for Consumers,
  • Scientific Committee on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices,
  • Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment.

2. The fields of competence of the Scientific Committees shall be as set out in the Annex.

3. The Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare shall be composed of a sub-committee on Animal Health and a sub-committee on Animal Welfare.

Article 2

1. The Scientific Committees shall be consulted in the cases laid down by Community law. The Commission may also decide to consult them on other question of particular relevance to consumer health and food safety.

2. When the question submitted is common to several of the Scientific Committees mentioned in Article 1, and following identification by the Scientific Steering Committee of the Committees involved, they may set up a common working group to prepare their respective opinions. The creation of this group shall be obligatory if the Scientific Steering Committee so requests.

3. At the Commission's request, the Scientific Committees shall provide scientific advice on matters relating to consumer health and food safety. In particular, they shall:

  • critically examine risk assessments made by scientists belonging to Member State organisations;
  • develop new risk assessment procedures relating to areas such as, for example, food-borne diseases and the transmissibility of animal diseases to man;
  • prepare scientific opinions designed to enable the Commission to evaluate the scientific basis of the recommendations, standards and guidelines prepared in international forums;
  • evaluate the scientific principles on which Community health standards are based, taking into account the risk assessment techniques developed by the international organisations concerned.

4. On the basis of trends in existing scientific data, the Scientific Committees may draw the Commission's attention to any specific or emerging problem falling within their remit relating to consumer health and food safety.

5. The Commission may require the adoption of an opinion within a specified period.

Article 3

1. Each Scientific Committee shall consist of a maximum of 19 members. The number of members of each Committee shall be determined by the Commission as a function of the requisite expertise.

2. The members of each Scientific Committee shall be scientific experts in one or more of the fields of competence of that Committee and shall collectively cover the widest possible range of disciplines.

3. The members of the Scientific Committee shall be appointed by the Commission, following publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities of a call for expressions of interest, together with the selection criteria and a description of the selection procedure. The selection procedure shall identify, in a transparent manner, the most suitable applicants for appointment to the Committees. The Commission shall appoint the members of each Scientific Committee from this list of candidates, whereby no appointee may be a member of several Scientific Committees. The names of the members of each Scientific Committee shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Article 4

The Scientific Committees and the sub-committees of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (hereafter called 'the sub-committees') shall elect a chairman and two vice-chairmen from their members. The election shall take place by simple majority of the members which make up the committee or sub-committee.

Article 5

1. Members shall be appointed to the Scientific Committees for a term of three years, and may not remain in office for more than two consecutive terms. They shall remain in office until they are replaced or their appointments are renewed.

2. Where a member of a Scientific Committee is unable to carry out his duties or in the event of his/her voluntary resignation, the Commission shall nominate an appropriate replacement for the remaining term of office, drawn from the most suitable candidates identified in accordance with Article 3, paragraph 3.

3. Members of the Scientific Committees and the external experts shall be remunerated for the services they provide to the Commission, in addition to the reimbursement of travel and subsistence allowances in accordance with the rules laid down by the Commission.

Article 6

1. Members of the Scientific Committees, in their capacity as such, must act independently of all outside influence.

2. Each year the members of the Scientific Committees shall inform the Commission of any interests which might be considered as prejudicial to their independence.

3. Members of the Scientific Committees and the external experts shall declare at each meeting any particular interest which might be considered as prejudicial to their independence.

Article 7

1. In agreement with the Commission, the Scientific Committees and the sub-committees may invite specialised external experts to participate in their work.

2. The Scientific Committees and the sub-committees may create specific working parties with clearly defined tasks. Each working party shall be chaired by a member of the Committee or of the sub-committee and may include external experts.

3. The working parties shall report to the Scientific Committee or sub-committee to which they are attached.

Article 8

1. The Scientific Committees shall adopt harmonised rules of procedure in collaboration with the Scientific Steering Committee. These rules of procedure shall ensure that the Scientific Committees perform their tasks in the best possible way, in compliance with the principles of excellence, independence and transparency, whilst having regard to legitimate requests for commercial confidentiality. They shall be made public.

2. Specifically, for each Scientific Committee, the rules must lay down procedures with a view to:

  • appointing rapporteurs to assemble information packages and documentation and prepare draft opinions for the Scientific Committee;
  • verifying that the rapporteurs are in a position to perform their assignments as independently as possible, free of all outside influence,
  • delivering an opinion as quickly as possible, and in any event before the time limit fixed pursuant to Article 2, Paragraph 5.
  • ensuring close collaboration with the other Scientific Committees and the Scientific Steering Committee.

3. The Scientific Committees shall adopt their opinions by a majority of the members which make up the Committee.

4. The sub-committees adopt draft opinions by a majority of the members which make up the sub-committee, which shall subsequently be submitted to the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare for final adoption.

Article 9

1. The Scientific Committees, the sub-committees and the working parties shall be convened at the instance of the Commission.

2. The Commission shall provide the secretariat of the Scientific Committees, the sub-committees and the working parties.

Article 10

The agendas, minutes and opinions of the Scientific Committees shall be published without undue delay and with regard being had to the need for commercial confidentiality. Minority opinions shall always be included and shall be attributed to members only at their request.

Article 11

Without prejudice to Article 214 of the Treaty, the members and external experts shall be obliged not to divulge information acquired as a result of the work of the Scientific Committees, sub-committees or one of the working parties, when they are informed that this information has been the subject of a request for confidentiality.

Article 12

1. The Scientific Committees established by this Decision shall replace the existing Scientific Committees as follows:

  1. The Scientific Committee for Food shall replace the Scientific Committee for Food established by Commission Decision 95/273/EC (1) ;
  2. The Scientific Committee for Animal Nutrition shall replace the Scientific Committee for Animal Nutrition established by Commission Decision 76/791/EEC (2) , amended by Commission Decision 86/105/EEC (3) .
  3. The Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare shall replace the Animal Health section and the Animal Welfare section of the Scientific Veterinary Committee established by Commission Decision 81/651/EEC (4) , as last amended by the Act of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden.
  4. The Scientific Committee on Veterinary Public Health shall replace the Veterinary Public Health Section of the Scientific Veterinary Committee established by Commission Decision 81/651/EC.
  5. The Scientific Committee for Plants shall replace the Scientific Committee on Pesticides established by Commission Decision 78/436/EC of 21 April 1978 (5) , as amended by Decision 86/105/EEC.
  6. The Scientific Committee for Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products intended for Consumers shall replace the Scientific Committee on Cosmetology established by Commission Decision 78/45/EEC (6) , as last amended by Commission Decision 94/954/EC (7) ,
  7. The Scientific Committee for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment shall replace the Scientific Advisory Committee to examine the toxicity and ecotoxicity of chemical compounds established by Commission Decision 78/618/EEC (8) , as last amended by the Act of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden.

(1) OJ No L 167 of 18.7.1995, p.22
(2) OJ No L 279 of 9.10.1976, p. 35
(3) OJ No L 93 of 8.4.1986, p. 14
(4) OJ No L 233 of 19.8.1981, p.32
(5) OJ No L 124 of 12.5.1978, p. 16
(6) OJ No L 13 of 17.1.1978, p. 24
(7) OJ No L 371 of 31.12.1994, p. 15
(8) OJ No L 198 of 22.7.1978, p. 17

2. Decisions 76/791/EEC, 78/45/EEC, 78/436/EEC, 78/618/EEC, 78/651/EEC and 95/273/EC shall be repealed.

However, the Committees established by these decisions shall remain in office until the Scientific Committees established by this Decision take office.

References to the repealed decisions shall be understood as applicable to this Decision; references to the committees and sections established by the repealed decisions shall be understood as applicable to the Committees established by this Decision.

Done at Brussels, 23 July 1997
For the Commission
Emma Bonino
Member of the Commission
ANNEX

Scientific Committee on Food

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions concerning consumer health and food safety associated with the consumption of food products and in particular questions relating to toxicology and hygiene in the entire food production chain, nutrition, and applications of agrifood technologies, as well as those relating to materials coming into contact with foodstuffs, such as packaging.

Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions concerning animal nutrition, its effect on animal health, on the quality and health of products of animal origin, and concerning the technologies applied to animal nutrition.

Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare

Sub-committee Animal Health:

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions concerning all aspects of animal health, hygiene, animal diseases and therapies, including zoonoses of non-food origin and zootechnics.

Sub-committee Animal Welfare:

Fields of Competence

Scientific and technical questions concerning the protection of animals, notably in regard to animal husbandry, herd management, transport, slaughter and experimentation.

Scientific Committee on Veterinary Public Health

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions concerning consumer health and food safety, and relating to zoonotic, toxicological, veterinary and notably hygiene measures applicable to the production, processing, and supply of food of animal origin.

Scientific Committee on Plants

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions relating to plants intended for human or animal consumption, production or processing of non-food products as regards characteristics liable to affect human or animal health or the environment, including the use of pesticides.

Scientific Committee for Cosmetic Products, and Non-food Products intended for Consumers

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions concerning consumer health relating to cosmetic products and non-food products intended for the consumer especially substances used in the preparation of these products, their composition, use as well as their types of packaging.

Scientific Committee on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices.

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions relating to Community legislation concerning medicaments for human and veterinary use, without prejudice to the specific competences given to the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products and the Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products (1) in the context of the evaluation of medicaments. Scientific and technical questions relating to Community legislation concerning medical materials and equipment.

(1) Committees established in the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products

Scientific Committee for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment

Field of Competence:

Scientific and technical questions relating to examination of the toxicity and ecotoxicity of chemical, biochemical and biological compounds whose use may have harmful consequences for human health and the environment.

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Scientific Committees
FOOD SAFETY | PUBLIC HEALTH | CONSUMER PROTECTION | DIRECTORATE GENERAL "HEALTH & CONSUMER PROTECTION"

 
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