Europe's scientific community has highlighted the importance of science in the formation of food policy, suggesting that issues surrounding food security should top Brussels' agenda.

Food security is the number one issue facing Europe's new science chief, Neil Parish, former chairman of the European Parliament's agriculture committee, insisted during a conference in Brussels today (1 December).

Delivering the keynote speech at the Food Supply Forum: Choices & Implications event, organised by the European Crop Protection Association, the UK's chief scientific advisor emphasised that the creation of the position of EU science chief affords the opportunity to improve policy making at a European level.

"Having a chief scientific advisor with the responsibility to look at all stages of policy development has real potential to improve policy-making," Professor John Beddington suggested.

Beddington depicted what he calls the "perfect storm" with four drivers: energy, water, food and climate potentially contributing to serious concerns over Europe's food supply.

"Food security is not an unfortunate condition of some distant land but a very European problem," Jacques du Puy, president of ECPA, added.

"The biggest threat may not be nature, but ideological clutter that tends to obscure our vision. What we need is evidence, scientifically valid evidence."