martes, 30 de agosto de 2011

Food Safety: New approach in the EU

Data collection on risks in the food chain is mandatory for all EU countries and also include third countries

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was established in 2002 by Regulation (EC) Nº 178/2002d of the European Parliament and of the Council as the European Union’s independent risk assessment body for food and feed safety. It has a dual mandate: the provision of scientific advice and technical information to support the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States in developing measures to protect consumers; and, in cooperation with Member States and the Commission, communicating on risks in the food and feed chain in a clear and coherent manner to a wide audience of interested parties including the general public. EFSA’s evaluation of claims, substances and products is also a crucial part of the European system that enables access to the European market.

 EFSA’s Founding Regulations and other specific Community legislation, such as that related to zoonosis (Directive 2003/99/ECe) and pesticide residues in food and feed (Regulation (EC) No396/2005f), assign EFSA’s data collection mandate in relation to food and feed safety including nutrition, zoonotic organisms, chemical contaminants and residues, animal health and welfare, and plant health. The Authority is also tasked with providing recommendations to the Member States and the Commission on how to improve the technical comparability of the data it receives and analyses.

Furthermore, it stipulates that EFSA should work in close cooperation with all organizations  operating in the field of data collection, including those from applicant countries, third countries and international bodies, to exercise its mandate.

The process of risk assessment comprises four distinct but closely linked activities: hazard identification; hazard characterization; exposure assessment; and risk characterization. The third of these – exposure assessment – requires that the exposure of the consumer to a hazard must be ascertained. In relation to human diet, this requires information on the concentration of the hazardous substance in the food combined with data on the quantity of the food consumed. Hence, food consumption data are a prerequisite for risk assessment and the quality of the risk assessment is directly influenced by the accuracy, comprehensiveness and comparability of the available consumption data.

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