The first meeting of the management board of the new European Food Safety Authority will be held 18/19 September in Brussels.

It will deal mainly with approving the board's operating methods and appointing its chairman and vice-chairman. The creation of the new authority will go a long way towards ensuring that future EU food safety decisions are based on the latest and best scientific information from around Europe and the world, the EU Commission said in a release. The most important of the board's initial tasks over the next few months will be to appoint the executive director, who will be responsible for the day to day management of the authority.

"I'm looking forward to meeting the new board for the first time next week," said Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne. "It is the duty of the board to ensure that the EFSA functions effectively and efficiently, so that the potential benefits of the organisation in restoring people's confidence in the food they eat are maximised."

The Management Board will be the first of the authority's four main operational elements, and its establishment will be closely followed by the next main component, which is the appointment of the executive director. He/she should be in post early in 2003, and will be responsible for the day to day management. Following this will come the set up of the advisory forum, which will comprise representatives of those agencies in the Member States which have a similar remit to the authority. Consequently, it will be in an excellent position to ensure the best possible interaction with associated activities in the different countries. The fourth main element will be the creation of the scientific committee and panels, and these will be responsible for scientific assessment of food safety issues.

The members of the management board were selected by the Council, following consultation with the Parliament, on the basis of a list provided by the Commission. They are experts in their own right, and collectively have a blend of expertise in the management of key organisations involved in food safety, and in the issues presented by the complexity of today's food supply, said the Commission.