Transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain

Transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain

Following the approval by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019, the Council formally adopted, on 13 June 2019, a new Regulation on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain. This new Regulation is based on a European Commission's proposal tabled in April 2018 and mainly amends the General Food Law Regulation. It aims at increasing the transparency of the EU risk assessment in the food chain, on strengthening the reliability, objectivity and independence of the studies used by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and revisiting the governance of EFSA in order to ensure its long-term sustainability. It is a direct response to a successful European Citizens' Initiative "Stop Glyphosate" and builds upon the findings of the fitness check of the General Food Law Regulation, a comprehensive evaluation, completed in January 2018.

The new Transparency Regulation was published in the Official Journal on 6 September 2019. It entered into force 20 days after publication and will become applicable on 27 March 2021.

The Commission and EFSA are working closely to ensure the proper implementation of the new Regulation. More details on the implementation work are available here.

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The main elements of the Regulation aim at:

  • Ensuring more transparency: Citizens will have automatic access to all studies and information submitted by industry in the risk assessment process. Stakeholders and the general public will also be consulted on submitted studies. At the same time, the Regulation will guarantee confidentiality, in duly justified circumstances, by setting out the type of information that may be considered significantly harmful for commercial interests and therefore cannot be disclosed

  • Increasing the independence of studies: The European Food Safety Authority will be notified of all commissioned studies to guarantee that companies applying for authorisations submit all relevant information and do not hold back unfavourable studies. The Authority will also provide general advice to applicants, in particular SMEs, prior to the submission of the dossier. Commission may ask the Authority to commission additional studies for verification purposes and may perform fact-finding missions to verify the compliance of laboratories/studies with standards

  • Strengthening the governance and the scientific cooperation: Member States, civil society and European Parliament will be involved in the governance of the Authority by being duly represented in its Management Board. Member States will foster the Authority's scientific capacity and engage the best independent experts into its work

  • Developing comprehensive risk communication: A general plan for risk communication will be adopted and will ensure a coherent risk communication strategy throughout the risk analysis process, combined with open dialogue amongst all interested parties.

Background Information

Official Proposal

Consultation

Roadmap

Context

Contact

Directorate D (Food chain: stakeholder and international relations), unit D1: Food chain science and stakeholder relations

Email: SANTE-SCIENCE-TRANSPARENCY@ec.europa.eu