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European union / EU institutions / Decentralised bodies of the European Union (agencies)

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides independent scientific advice on all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food safety — including animal health and welfare and plant protection. EFSA is also consulted on nutrition in relation to Community legislation. The Authority communicates to the public in an open and transparent way on all matters within its remit.

EFSA’s risk assessments provide risk managers (EU institutions with political accountability, i.e. the European Commission, European Parliament and Council) with a sound scientific basis for defining policy-driven legislative or regulatory measures required to ensure a high level of consumer protection with regards to food safety.

Collection and analysis of scientific data, identification of emerging risks and scientific support to the Commission, particularly in case of a food crisis, are also part of EFSA’s mandate, as laid down in the founding Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of 28 January 2002.

EFSA is composed of four bodies:

The Management Board is responsible for ensuring that the Authority functions effectively and efficiently. The Board is responsible for establishing the Authority’s draft budget and work programmes, monitoring their implementation, and agreeing to internal rules and regulations. It also appoints EFSA’s Executive Director and the members of the Scientific Committee and panels.

The Executive Director is the legal representative of the Authority and answers to the Management Board. Appointed for five years, which are renewable, he is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Authority and all staff matters.

The Executive Director is assisted by an Advisory Forum composed of representatives from the competent bodies in the Member States, which undertake tasks similar to those of the Authority.

EFSA’s scientific opinions and advice are provided by the Scientific Committee (SC) and eight scientific panels, each competent in a specific area of risk assessment. The Scientific Committee coordinates the work of the panels and addresses transversal issues relevant to all (e.g. methodology for exposure assessment).

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