EFSA takes 'e' path to cut red tape for health claims and more

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA: “While it is still possible to also send paper copies of technical dossiers to EFSA, the electronic copy is now considered as the formal submission."
EFSA: “While it is still possible to also send paper copies of technical dossiers to EFSA, the electronic copy is now considered as the formal submission."

Related tags: Food, European food safety authority, European union

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has introduced an ‘e-service’ to speed applications for health claims and food and feed additives.

A spokesperson at the Parma, Italy-based agency told us it couldn’t predict just how much time could be cut from application processes until the electronic service had kicked in.

“An impact assessment has not been performed so we don’t have concrete numbers yet,” ​he said.

“But we should be able to have more solid numbers by the end of the year.”

Under the new system applicants are encouraged to submit materials via CD-ROM or USB stick and other electronic media, a move that would, “cut bureaucracy and streamline the risk assessment process”.

The new procedure will enable applicants to update their dossiers and respond to ‘stop-the-clock’ requests.

“While it is still possible to also send paper copies of technical dossiers to EFSA, the electronic copy is now considered as the formal submission,”​ EFSA said.

Applicants could be food or feed business operators, academic institutions, an EU member state agency or be drawn from the European Commission.

Karine Lheureux-EFSA head-Applications Helpdesk

Karine Lheureux, head of EFSA’s Applications Helpdesk, said in a statement: “The introduction of E-submissions is the first step in developing a complete IT tool for the electronic management of applications. This is part of EFSA’s ongoing customer-oriented approach to strengthen the support it provides to applicants. It will reduce the administrative burden for applicants and deliver efficiency gains by streamlining the risk assessment process.”

Applications under the system would include nutrition and health claims, feed and food (such as additives, enzymes, flavourings, nutrient sources), food contact materials and pesticides as well as GMOs, food manufacturing processes and processing aids. 

The agency also released guidance about its scientific output that included updating and establishing an inventory of guidance documents for risk assessment; better harmonisation within the agency and between it and other parties and, "the possibility to develop and implement new concepts and approaches in EFSA’s risk assessment practices."

The guidance is here​.

An interactive guide is here​.

Related topics: Regulation & Policy

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