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Food Safety

Health - Scientific Committees - Scientific Committee on Food - Outcome of discussions

Minutes of the 125 th Plenary Meeting of the Scientific Committee on Food held on 4 December 2000 in Brussels

ATTENDANCE LIST LISTE DES PARTICIPANTS TEILNEHMERLISTE

Members/Membres/Mitglieder

Mrs. S. BARLOW, Mr. A. CARERE, K-H. ENGEL, W. GRUNOW, T. HIRVI, Mrs. A. KNAAP, Mr. B. KOLETZKO, J.C. LARSEN, S. LINDGREN, A. PALOU, J. SCHLATTER, W. SARIS, P. TOBBACK, P. VERGER, J.-M. WAL, R. WALKER

Apologies for absence:

J. ALEXANDER, A. FLYNN, B. Moseley

Commission/Kommission

Mr. S. ABILDGAARD (DG Health and Consumer Protection), B. MATHIOUDAKIS (DG Health and Consumer Protection), Mrs. A. NADAS (DG Health and Consumer Protection), Mr. L. ROSSI (DG Health and Consumer Protection)

Secretariat/Secrétariat/Sekretariat (DG Health and Consumer Protection)

Mr. M.A. GRANERO ROSELL, D. PETTAUER, D. LIEM, M. ROMARÍS, Mrs. H. PEDERSEN

Agenda items 1. to 4. were chaired by the SCF Secretariat.

1. Apologies for absence

The apologies were noted.

2. Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

3.

3.1 Introduction by the Commission services

Mr. Peter Wagstaffe, Head of the Unit C/3 "Management of Scientific Committees II; scientific co-operation and networks", responsible for the management of several Scientific Committees including the SCF, welcomed the members of the SCF under the new mandate. He presented the views of the Commission on items related to the independence of members, transparency of procedures and confidentiality, which were based on the experience obtained during the last mandate of the Committee. He also explained that the Commission envisages some structural changes of its services in view of the establishment of the future European Food Authority.

3.2. Background: General Information on the SCF

The Secretariat introduced the legislative background to the Committee's work and explained that the working group structure of the SCF reflected the fields of Community food legislation requiring mandatory consultation of the SCF on proposals for measures which may have an effect on public health. Rules would allow for the creation of specific ad-hoc groups if required due to the size or nature of particular requests. Examples are the Task Force on Dioxins, which recently finalised its work, and the Task Force on Upper Levels on Vitamins and Minerals. An updated draft information pack was presented to the members containing the essential background documents related to the work of the Committee.

4.

4.1. Election of Chairperson

The Secretariat introduced the modalities of the election procedure, which require that successful candidates would receive a simple majority of votes from the members making up the Committee. The chair and the vice-chairpersons had to be elected separately.

Dr Ada Knaap was unanimously elected as Chair for the coming term.

4.2. Election of First and Second Vice -chairpersons

Dr Sue Barlow was elected unanimously as first vice-chair, and Prof Andreu Palou was elected unanimously as second vice-chairman of the SCF.

The members and the Secretariat congratulated the chairpersons, and Dr Knaap took over the chair. Dr Knaap thanked the members for their confidence in her. She reminded the Committee that food safety is an issue of serious public concern, and stressed the important contribution of the SCF to the establishment of the scientific basis for Community rules on consumer health related to food.

5. Rules of procedure of the Committee

The Committee discussed the rules of procedure established by the SCF for its previous mandate. These rules cover items relevant for the operation of the Committee, as the election of the chairpersons, confidentiality, declarations of independence, the role of ad hoc experts and others. Some comments were made on confidentiality provisions. The Secretariat undertook to clarify this issue.

6. Declarations of interest. Annual declarations of interest

The Secretariat explained that members are required to inform the Commission of any interests, which might be considered prejudicial to their independence, and to declare specific interests at each meeting. Practical measures to apply these principles were shortly discussed.

7. Working Programme

The Secretariat presented a status report on the requests for opinions, which are presently under consideration by, or are being submitted to the Committee. The report demonstrated the large variety of requests and the enormous workload of the Committee.

8. Structure and composition of Working Groups

The Secretariat described the structure of the working groups of the SCF covering the areas of food hygiene, flavourings, additives, nutrition, novel foods, contaminants and materials in contact with food. A specific task force had been set up to cover upper levels for vitamins and minerals. The Committee decided to suspend the working group on food intake and exposure, but agreed to include the consideration of intake and exposure questions in the work of the relevant working groups. It was agreed that an ad hoc group could be established if need arises.

The Secretariat proposed some changes in the procedures of the Working Group on Novel Foods in order to ensure close co-ordination with the relevant working group of the Scientific Committee on Plants on issues related to genetically modified organisms.

The Secretariat explained that other activities within the present system for scientific advice to the Commission might also require that SCF members provide their expertise, e.g. to working groups of the other scientific committees.

8.1 Appointment of working group chairpersons

The members were invited to indicate their availability for participating in the individual working groups. The Committee appointed chairpersons for the working groups as follows:

WG on Additives: S. Barlow

WG on Food Contact Materials: P. Tobback

WG on Contaminants: A. Carere

WG on Flavourings: K-H. Engel

WG on Nutrition: W. Saris

TF on Upper Levels: A. Flynn

WG on Novel Food: B. Moseley

WG on Food Microbiology and Hygiene: S. Lindgren

9. Schedule of meetings 2001

Adoption of dates for plenary sessions, dates of Working Groups

On the basis of a draft schedule proposed by the Secretariat the Committee agreed on the following schedule for SCF plenary meetings and initial meetings of the working groups:

SCF plenary: 27 - 28 February, 29 - 30 May, 10 - 11 July, 25-26 September, 12-13 December (provisional);

WG on Additives: 17-18 January

WG on Food Contact Materials: 20-22 February

WG on Contaminants: 25 January

WG on Flavourings: 23-24 January, 24-25 April

WG on Nutrition: 12 February

TF on Upper Levels: to be decided

WG on Novel Food: 1 February

WG on Food Microbiology and Hygiene: 16-17 or 17-18 January

10. Any other business

A co-ordination meeting of the SCF chair and vice chairs, and the chairpersons of the working groups will take place as soon as possible.

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