EFSA News Item, 27 March 2008
EFSA's Management Board met for its 35th meeting in Cyprus , where members adopted EFSA's annual activity report for 2007 and discussed the 2009 work programme of the European food safety watchdog.
Among its key activities in 2007, the Authority strengthened its procedures on Declarations of Interest and put into action its Strategy on Cooperation and Networking, supported by the creation of a new Directorate of Scientific Cooperation & Assistance and to the establishment of Focal Points with Member States. The role of the Focal Points is to enhance the exchange of scientific information with Member States.
EFSA marked its fifth year of operation in 2007 and, by the end of the year, it had issued more than 500 scientific opinions and its staff numbers had reached 310. 2007 itself was a busy year in which more than 200 opinions were adopted, and more than 1,000 applications and renewals were received.
EFSA worked closely with other EU agencies in 2007, for example, with ECDC on zoonoses and avian influenza and with EMEA on a draft guidance document for the safety assessment of botanicals. The Authority cooperated closely with the national agencies in the Member States and with international bodies. It signed an agreement to facilitate the sharing of scientific information with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with the aim of sharing information and best practice.
Capitalising on the results of the past year, Board members discussed EFSA's work programme and priorities for 2009. The Board also adopted the preliminary budget and staff policy plan for 2009.
EFSA's workload has quadrupled since its inception and is expected to double in 2008 alone. In light of these developments, the priorities for 2009 include:
In the latest in a series of presentations by scientists to members of the Board, Jan Schans, chair of the Panel for plant health (PLH), presented the Panel's work which led to a discussion on some of the key issues, driving forces and working processes in the area of plant health.