Headquarters in Parma
|Formed||21 February 2002|
|Motto||Committed to ensuring that Europe's food is safe|
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the agency of the European Union (EU) that provides independent scientific advice and communicates on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain. EFSA was established in February 2002, is based in Parma, Italy, and for 2021 it has a budget of EUR118.6 million, and a total staff of 542.
The work of EFSA covers all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food and feed safety, including animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health and nutrition. EFSA supports the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU member states in taking effective and timely risk management decisions that ensure the protection of the health of European consumers and the safety of the food and feed chain. EFSA also communicates to the public in an open and transparent way on all matters within its remit.
Based on a regulation of 2002, the EFSA is composed of four bodies:
The Management Board sets the budget, approves work programmes, and is responsible for ensuring that EFSA co-operates successfully with partner organisations across the EU and beyond. It is composed of fourteen members appointed by the Council of the European Union in consultation with the European Parliament from a list drawn up by the European Commission, plus one representative of the European Commission.
The Executive Director is EFSA's legal representative and is responsible for day-to-day administration, drafting and implementing work programmes, and implementing other decisions adopted by the Management Board. They are appointed by the Management Board.
The Advisory Forum advises the Executive Director, in particular in drafting a proposal for the EFSA's work programmes. It is composed of representatives of national bodies responsible for risk assessment in the Member States, with observers from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and the European Commission.
The Scientific Committee and its Scientific Panels provide scientific opinions and advice, each within their own sphere of competence, and are composed of independent scientific experts. The number and names of the Scientific Panels are adapted in the light of technical and scientific development by the European Commission at EFSA's request. The independent scientific experts are appointed by the Management Board upon a proposal from the Executive Director for three-year terms.
The EFSA cooperates with the national food safety authorities of the 28 EU member states, Iceland and Norway, as well as observers from Switzerland and EU candidate countries, through its Focal Points, who also communicate with research institutes and other stakeholders. They 'assist in the exchange of scientific information and experts, advise on cooperation activities and scientific projects, promote training in risk assessment and raise EFSA's scientific visibility and outreach in Member States.'
The following countries' national food safety authorities are members of the EFSA Focal Point network:
|Country||Food safety authority|
|Austria||Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES)|
|Belgium||Federal Public Service (FPS) Health Food Chain Safety and Environment|
|Bulgaria||Risk Assessment Center on Food Chain - Bulgarian Food Safety Agency|
|Croatia||Croatian Food Agency (HAH)|
|Cyprus||Ministry of Health - The State General Laboratory|
|Czech Republic||Ministry of Agriculture - Food Safety Department|
|Denmark||National Food Institute|
|Estonia||Ministry of Agriculture - Food Safety Department|
|Finland||Finnish Food Safety Authority (Ruokavirasto)|
|France||French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES)|
|Germany||Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)|
|Greece||Hellenic Food Authority (EFET)|
|Hungary||National Food Chain Safety Office Directorate for Food Safety Risk Assessment|
|Iceland||The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority|
|Ireland||Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)|
|Italy||Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS)|
|Latvia||Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment "BIOR"|
|Lithuania||State Food and Veterinary Service|
|Luxembourg||Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health|
|Malta||Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority|
|Netherlands||Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA)|
|Norway||Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM)|
|Poland||Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS)|
|Portugal||Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE)|
|Romania||National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority|
|Slovakia||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Slovenia||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food|
|Spain||Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN)|
|Sweden||Swedish National Food Agency|
The following countries' national food safety authorities are observers of the EFSA Focal Point network:
|Country||Food safety authority|
|Albania||National Food Authority|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Food Safety Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Kosovo||Food and Veterinary Agency|
|Montenegro||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|North Macedonia||Food and Veterinary Agency|
|Serbia||Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection|
|Switzerland||Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) - Risk assessment division|
|Turkey||Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry|
The scientific output of the European Food Safety Authority is published in the EFSA Journal, an open-access, online scientific journal. This concerns risk assessment in relation to food and feed and includes nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection.
The EFSA has been criticised for its alleged "overregulation".
The EFSA has been criticised, including by the European Court of Auditors in 2012, for "frequent conflicts of interests", some of them undeclared. A number of undisclosed conflicts of interest involved the International Life Sciences Institute.
According to Corporate Europe Observatory, in 2013, 58 % of the experts of the agency were in situation of conflict of interests. In 2017, they were still 46 % in situation of conflict of interests.
EFSA has also been criticised by the NGO CHEM Trust for misrepresenting the results of their expert committee's report on bisphenol A (BPA) in January 2015. EFSA claimed in the abstract, press release and briefing that bisphenol A 'posed no risk' to health, when the expert report actually stated the risk was 'low' when considering aggregate exposure (beyond just food). EFSA later modified the abstract to correct this error, though the press release remains unchanged. EFSA have argued that use of 'no health concern' in their press release and bisphenol A briefing is to ensure these materials are accessible, though this rationale is disputed by CHEM Trust.