EFSA reorganisation can boost health claims work

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EFSA chief: "It is right that we review the way we are structured..."
EFSA chief: "It is right that we review the way we are structured..."

Related tags: Risk, European food safety authority

Increased workloads in areas like enzymes, feed additives and pesticides – and health claims – is driving a reorganisation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) into five directorates.

The reorganisation will see the establishment of an Applications Desk, “to act as a first contact point for companies submitting applications for the evaluation of regulated substances, products and claims and to raise the level of service to other clients and partners such as Member States and stakeholders.”

The focus on applications meant the agency would be prepared if a fee-based system was introduced, it said.

“EFSA has grown rapidly since it was set up in 2002. It is right that we review the way we are structured to make sure we keep pace with the demands made of us, make optimal use of our resources and become even more effective in what we do,” ​executive director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle said.

EFSA will now be comprised of:

  • the Scientific Evaluation of Regulated Products Directorate
  • the Science Strategy and Coordination Directorate
  • the Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance Directorate
  • the Resources and Support Directorate
  • the Communications Directorate

Other changes include the creation of a strategic Human Capital and Knowledge Management unit to, “encourage knowledge-sharing, training and best use of talents among staff and more than 1,500 external experts to help EFSA achieve its mission.”

Building public confidence

The agency’s communications policies were being reviewed to work in a more thematic manner, “to illustrate the impact of EFSA’s work and demonstrate how the Authority contributes to improving food safety across Europe and to building public confidence in the way risk is assessed.”

It is expected the changes will be complete by early 2012.

“The re-organisation is all about making EFSA more flexible and more able to respond to the increasing number of demands for its scientific advice. In this way, we can maintain the support we give to help Europe’s policy makers protect the health of European consumers,”​ added Geslain-Lanéelle.

“It is important that our scientific staff are able to focus more on scientific work, and so we are centralising many more administrative tasks under the Resources and Support Directorate on which the rest of EFSA depends to successfully carry out its mission.”

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