EU: First set of farm-to-table food safety measures enter into force
EU commissioner David Byrne said today was a "red letter" day for food safety with the entry into force of the first set of comprehensive farm-to-table food safety measures of the key new Regulation on EU food law. They include the start of the operation of the new and reinforced rapid alert system for feed and food risks and new emergency powers for the European Commission to intervene when a feed or food is likely to constitute a serious risk. At the same time a reorganisation of existing regulatory committees into a single Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health becomes effective, and the key principles on food law and transparency in food law making start applying.
Byrne said that the EU Commission would have new powers to take emergency measures in case national authorities cannot contain an emerging food risk
The Regulation that sets out the general principles and requirements of food law, establishes the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and lays down procedures in matters of food safety was adopted on 28 January this year. It foresees that the general principles of food law and some of the key new measures to secure food safety immediately enter into force after 20 days. Other specific provisions will apply as of 2005, or, in the case of other provisions, as soon as the EFSA becomes operational later this year. The Regulation is one of the corner stones of the new approach to food safety set out by the Prodi Commission in January 2000 White Paper on Food Safety.
New rapid alarm system
Among the measures taking effect today is the new rapid alert system for feed and food. The system foresees obligatory notification of any direct or indirect risk to human health, animal health or the environment within a network consisting of national competent authorities, the EFSA and the European Commission. It builds upon the existing rapid alert system for food, extending it to include the feed sector and feed and food imports from outside the EU. The European Commission will manage the system and ensure immediate transmission of information to all contact points.
Participation in the rapid alert system is in principle open to candidate countries, third countries and international organisations subject to negotiated agreements. The EFSA's role will notably be to supply scientific and technical information that will be helpful to Member States in deciding follow-up steps.
In line with the transparency and information requirements of the new Regulation, authorities of Member States should make appropriate steps to inform the public when there are reasonable ground to suspect a risk.
Emergency powers of Commission
The new regulation also confers special powers to the European Commission for taking emergency measures. Such measures can be taken where it is evident that a feed and food originating in the EU, or imported from a third country, is likely to constitute a serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment, and that such a risk cannot be contained satisfactorily by means of measures taken by the Member States. Such action can be initiated by the Commission itself, or be requested by a Member State. Depending on the gravity of the situation, emergency measures can take the form of a suspension of the marketing or use of the feed or food in question, of subjecting the use and marketing of the feed or food to special conditions or any other appropriate interim measure.
New standing committee - no SVC any longer
Simultaneously, the regulatory committees consisting of representatives of the Member States that have a key role in decision-making on food safety issues are reorganised within a single new structure, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. It replaces the existing Standing Veterinary Committee, the Standing Committee on Foodstuffs, the Standing Committee on Animal Nutrition and the Standing Committee on Plant Health. The new Committee will assist the European Commission in the development of food safety measures. Its mandate covers the entire food supply chain, ranging from animal health issues on the farm to the product that arrives on the consumer's table, thus significantly enhancing its ability to target risks to health wherever they arise in the production of our food. The Committee will consist of representatives of the Member States and be chaired by a European Commission representative. It may form sectoral committees to deal with specific relevant food safety and animal health topics.
The full text of the Regulation on Food law, establishing the EFSA and laying down procedures in matters of food safety is available by clicking here.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a review of the toxicological data on illegal dyes found in food to date in the EU and on other unauthorised dyes that could raise concern in th...
The row between the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) over replacing executive director Geoffrey Podger has been settled in the Commission's favour....
An unusual public row over replacing outgoing European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) executive director Geoffrey Podger is embittering relations between Brussels bureaucrats ahead of Podger's planned N...
The Hungarian government has come under pressure from the European Food Safety Authority to lift a national ban on cultivating a European Union approved GM maize (MON 810)....
Geoffrey Podger, executive director of the European Food Safety Authority has announced that he is leaving to take up a new post as chief executive of the British Health and Safety Executive on 28 Nov...
The European Food Safety Authority has been officially inaugurated at its base in Parma, Italy....
Biotechnology company Vacci-Test Corporation has announced that a simple, reliable and economical diagnostic tool for the detection in live cattle of infectious brain diseases, including Bovine Spongi...
The European Food Safety Authority has declared safe an enzyme preparation sourced from cattle and pigs that can bind reconstituted meat, poultry, fish and seafood....
- Danone's Q1: four things to learn
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Nestle Q1 update: four things to learn
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Nestle to cut UK confectionery jobs
- PepsiCo affirms full-year target as Q1 hits mark
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill
- Tyson to buy burger-to-entree firm AdvancePierre