Risk Managers

In the European food safety system, risk assessment is done separately from risk management. The European Food Safety Authority works closely with risk managers throughout the European Union. The European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States are the key risk managers in the EU system. They are responsible for making European policies and taking decisions to manage risks associated with the food chain. For instance, this can involve adopting or revising European legislation on food or feed safety, deciding whether to approve regulated substances such as pesticides and food additives, or developing new policies, for instance in the field of diet and nutrition.

EFSA’s main client is the European Commission, which has a key role in risk management at EU-level and frequently requests scientific advice from EFSA. As the independent risk assessor, EFSA produces scientific opinions and advice to support the Commission and other risk managers and which often feed directly into specific policy-making processes.

EFSA’s co-operation with risk managers

EFSA maintains an active working interface with EU risk managers, in particular the European Commission, in order to support fully those responsible for making risk management decisions. EFSA operates in structured co-operation with the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers. Accordingly, regular bilateral meetings take place at all levels of seniority, including between the Executive Director of EFSA and the Director-General for Health and Consumers. An interface unit has been set up in this Directorate-General of the Commission to liaise with EFSA. Its representatives regularly attend key EFSA meetings as observers, including those of the Scientific Committee and Panels, expert working groups, the Advisory Forum and the Stakeholder Consultative Platform. Strong relationships have also been forged with other Commission services including DG Environment, DG Research, DG Enterprise and the Joint Research Centre.

EFSA representatives regularly attend meetings of the European Parliament’s Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and EFSA has arranged to attend relevant meetings of other committees, such as the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee for Internal Market and Consumer Protection. This presence allows EFSA to offer input to the Parliament on issues within its fields of expertise. An EFSA liaison officer serves as a contact point between EFSA and the European Parliament.

ESFA also discusses strategic and technical questions with other key actors at EU level, including the holders of the rotating EU Presidency and relevant working groups of the Council of the EU. EFSA is strengthening its cooperation with existing risk management networks in the EU, including Chief Veterinary Officers and Heads of national food safety authorities in the EU Member States.