The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is celebrating the first year of the applications desk it set up to allow better communication with stakeholders in all areas, including health claims, substances and processes.
Companies going through the health claims process have agreed the “one stop shop”, as EFSA describes it, has allowed greater communication with EFSA’s health claim panel (NDA), although others claim more is needed.
“During a productive first 12 months, the helpdesk has responded to hundreds of queries received through the EFSA website in a range of areas including food ingredients, GMOs, feed additives, nutrition and food contact materials,” EFSA said.
“More than half these inquiries came from industry. The Applications helpdesk has hosted information exchange sessions with stakeholders as part of an ongoing drive to strengthen cooperation. By the end of the year, four ‘Information Sessions on Applications’ with stakeholders will have been held, while a further seven are already in the pipeline for 2013.”
“The helpdesk has also become the central administrative processing hub for newly-submitted dossiers to the Authority. This has lightened the workload on EFSA’s scientific units, enabling them to further focus their expertise on science-based risk assessment.”
Per Bergman, from EFSA’s Scientific Evaluation of Regulated Products Directorate, said: “But this is just the beginning as there is real potential to develop the service further. For example, the Applications helpdesk will, among other things, be focussing on how to better meet the needs of Europe’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the coming year.”
EFSA said a feasibility study is underway to assess how applicants can submit application dossiers online.