EFSA Press Release, 17 January 2008
EFSA's Scientific Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food (AFC Panel) will soon branch into two separate Panels, in order to increase further EFSA's pool of expertise and to accelerate processes in a field where output is particularly high. EFSA expects the new Panels to begin operating by mid 2008.
The new Panels will be named:
This move follows a decision of the EFSA Management Board on 11 September 2007 which set out the two proposed Panels' remits in detail. A formal proposal to modify EFSA's Founding Regulation was adopted by the Standing Committee on the food chain and animal health in December.
EFSA has launched a call for experts to constitute the two new Panels, which will have a maximum of 21 members each.EFSA will appoint experts in all relevant fields, including toxicology and risk assessment, food consumption and exposure assessment, food technology and microbiology. Applications are invited by 15 February 2008.
The AFC Panel has a particularly wide-ranging mandate focused on assessing the safety of chemicals deliberately added to food and materials in contact with food. This accounts for almost 50% of requests received by EFSA for scientific advice. Its work covers food additives, flavourings, processing aids, food contact materials, sources for vitamins and minerals added to food and food supplements.
Dividing the AFC Panel in this way serves to group together areas which require similar types of expertise or follow similar evaluation procedures, while distributing the workload evenly between the two new Panels. It will help to accelerate EFSA's processes in responding to a high number of requests for scientific advice within tight deadlines. Output is set to increase further with the adoption of EU legislation in the pipeline. These include the “food improvements package” - covering food additives, enzymes, flavourings and food ingredients with flavouring properties - and new Regulations on active and intelligent food packaging and recycling of plastic food contact materials.