Requests and Mandates

Requests for opinions are received by EFSA mainly from the European Commission and occasionally from the European Parliament. Member States can also request opinions. The request outlines what is being asked to EFSA: the issue, the terms of reference, the timeframe etc.

Upon receipt of a request, EFSA will consider its contents, discuss it with the Commission and address any issues that need clarification. EFSA will also consider issues such as the possibility of meeting the requested deadline. Following these discussions, EFSA and the Commission then agree on a mandate, which includes the final terms of reference and a mutually agreed or legally defined deadline.

A request normally results in the release of an opinion by one of EFSA’s scientific panels or its scientific committee.
Information about each request, including supporting documents and status, is available in the Register of Questions database.

Access the Register of Questions database

Highlighted CEF requests & mandates


EFSA to provide advice on the risks of 4-methylbenzophenone in food

The European Commission has asked EFSA to evaluate the risk of the presence of 4-methylbenzophenone in food. This follows notification by the German authorities of this chemical having been found to migrate from packaging into a cereal product.

EFSA has also been asked whether the existing tolerable daily intake (TDI) for two structurally-similar substances - benzophenone and hydroxybenzophenone - could also be applied to 4-methylbenzophenone. EFSA aims to publish its advice by 3 March 2009.

In addition, EFSA will reassess the TDI for benzophenone and hydroxybenzophenone in the light of toxicological studies since the last assessment in 1992. An opinion from the CEF Panel on this issue is expected by the end of May 2009.

According to the German authorities, 4-methylbenzophenone, a component of the inks used in the packaging of this cereal product, has transferred from the printed surface of the cardboard box into the food.

EFSA is liaising closely with the European Commission and the EU Member States in order to obtain any relevant information to support its risk assessments.

Request from the European Commission to EFSA - 18 February 2009(0.6Mb)

EFSA's reply to the European Commission - 20 February 2009(0.1Mb)

Evaluation by the former Scientific Committee for Food in 1992(6.3Mb)