Food Law News - EU - 2012

EFSA Press Release, 5 September 2012

EFSA - EFSA 10 years on - Independent report says Authority delivering on all fronts, outlines recommendations for further progress

A copy of the evaluation report is available on this site. See External Evaluation of EFSA - Final Report 2012

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) continues to demonstrate its value as the cornerstone of risk assessment for food and feed in the EU and fulfil its obligations to operate in an independent manner, an external evaluation has found. The review also makes a number of recommendations on how the Authority could further improve its performance.

The report, by international auditors Ernst & Young, notes the high quality of EFSA’s scientific outputs and risk communication activities. It highlights the Authority's culture of transparency and robust systems to ensure the impartiality of its scientific advice.

However, the evaluation also recommends that EFSA: enhance transparency in some decision-making processes; build better links with Member States; increase its planning and prioritisation capacity; improve the clarity of its communications and develop its data collection practices.

These proposals will make an important contribution to shaping future development of the organisation.

EFSA Executive Director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle said: “This external evaluation underlines that EFSA operates to the highest standards – particularly with regard to the quality of our scientific opinions and risk assessment methodologies.

 “Independence, transparency and openness are core values upon which the Authority is built and the review acknowledges that our culture and safeguards in this respect are among the most rigorous of any comparable organisation. We welcome the recommendations the report makes to improve the way we operate still further and these will be key in laying the foundations to build our strategic plan over the next five years.”

EFSA will reflect carefully on the report and its recommendations will be discussed among all key partners and stakeholders including the European Commission, European Parliament, member states as well as the Authority’s Management Board. Part of this review will be carried out during EFSA’s Institutional Conference on 13 November 2012.

Main Findings of Report

Comment from Sue Davies, Vice Chair of EFSA’s Management Board and Chair of the External Evaluation Steering Committee

Speaking after the publication of the External Evaluation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Sue Davies, Vice Chair of EFSA’s Management Board and Chair of the External Evaluation Steering Committee, said:

 “'It is of fundamental importance that EFSA is periodically reviewed by an external auditor to ensure that it is fulfilling its responsibilities, responding effectively to the challenges facing the food supply chain and meeting stakeholder expectations.

 “The final report, published today, shows that ten years on since it was established, EFSA is functioning well and fulfilling its mission to provide high quality risk assessments that serve as the basis for science-based EU regulation throughout the food chain.

 “It praises EFSA for having one of the most advanced and robust systems for ensuring its independence and for the high level of openness and transparency that now go far beyond the requirements of the founding regulation.

 “But it is important not to be complacent. As the evaluation notes, the context in which EFSA operates and the demands placed on it are ever more complex. It recommends several areas where the Authority can improve how it performs. These include further cooperation with Member States and international agencies, improving the timeliness of outputs, better promotion of EFSA's self tasking function as well as further steps to enhance transparency of how EFSA reaches its decisions.”

 “I am sure of the commitment within EFSA to progress the outstanding issues raised in the coming months. The Management Board will be reviewing the evaluation report and agreeing the best way to take the recommendations forward at its next meeting in October.”


Notes to editors:

EFSA is obliged to commission an external evaluation of its achievements every six years under Article 61 of its Founding Regulation. This independent review assesses working practices and the overall impact of the Authority. It takes into account the views of stakeholders at European and national level. EFSA’s Management Board subsequently makes recommendations to the European Commission regarding changes to the Authority and its working practices. The first evaluation was made in 2005.

This second evaluation was carried out by Ernst &Young in 2011. The review covers EFSA’s performance from January 2006 to December 2010 – and was extended to include the adoption of the agency’s Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes in December 2011.


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