About us

The CONTAM Panel provides independent scientific advice on contaminants in the food chain and undesirable substances such as natural toxicants, mycotoxins and residues of unauthorised substances not covered by another Panel.

It carries out risk assessments in order to produce scientific opinions and advice for risk managers. The Panel’s risk assessment work is based on reviewing scientific information and data in order to evaluate the risks posed by a given issue. This helps to provide a sound foundation for European policies and legislation and supports risk managers in taking effective and timely decisions.

How we work

The Panel works independently, openly and transparently to deliver timely scientific advice of the highest standards to support the policies and decisions of risk managers.

It carries out its work either in response to requests for scientific advice from risk managers or on its own initiative. Most commonly, the European Commission asks EFSA to provide scientific advice on a particular issue. The Panel always undertakes work on the basis of Terms of Reference which guide its approach to each question.

The Panel regularly sets up Working Groups involving external scientists with relevant expertise to focus on specific matters and help produce scientific opinions. The Panel itself meets regularly in plenary sessions to discuss work in progress and to adopt finalised scientific opinions. Each opinion results from a collective decision-making process with every Panel member having an equal say.