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Transparency & sustainability of EU scientific assessment of food safety: General Food Law adopted

In future, scientific information supporting risk assessment in the food chain, and communication on food safety will be more transparent and easier to access for the citizens. Moreover the governance of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be strengthened, with greater involvement of member states in its management board.

The Council yesterday passed a review of the "General Food Law regulation" that has its roots in the European Citizens' Initiative on glyphosate. The new regulation, that also amends eight legislative acts dealing with specific food chain sectors, will be soon published on the Official Journal of the European Union, but will mostly apply as of 2021.

Under the new rules studies and information supporting a request for a scientific output by EFSA are to be made public automatically when an application by a food business operator is validated or found admissible. Confidential information will be protected in duly justified circumstances and confidentiality requests will be assessed by EFSA.

Other measures introduced by the revamped General Food Law include:

  • the possibility for the Commission to ask EFSA to commission studies in exceptional circumstances to verify evidence used in its risk assessment process
  • a new database of studies commissioned by food business operators
  • a more active role for member states in helping EFSA attract more and the best scientists to participate in scientific panels
  • better risk communication among all actors - the Commission, EFSA, member states and public stakeholders
  • fact-finding missions by the Commission to ensure the compliance of laboratories/studies with relevant standards

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