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FSAI in Europe

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland represents Ireland on food safety issues in Europe. The Authority has regular contact with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The FSAI consults on and assists in the development of well founded and effective European food law, taking into account the principles of better regulation.

European Food Safety Authority

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was formally set up in 2002 as an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain. Its remit is to help rebuild consumer confidence following a series of food crises in the 1990’s. EFSA operates in a legal framework where risk assessment is carried out separately from risk management. Its job is to provide impartial advice to risk managers - the European Commission, Member States and the European Parliament - while at the same time communicating its findings to all interested parties.

EFSA’s tasks cover food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health.

To date, EFSA has delivered hundreds of scientific opinions on issues as diverse as BSE/TSE, food additives, pesticides, Avian Influenza, nanotechnology and animal cloning.

All opinions are based on science and not influenced by political considerations.

European and national level activities are co-ordinated by EFSA by means of close co-operation through EFSA’s Advisory Forum. This structure allows Member States and EFSA to work together to exchange scientific information and data, co-ordinate work programmes, pool resources and co-operate on joint projects.

 

EFSA's Understanding Science Video Clips

Understanding Science is EFSA’s scientific white board video series in which EFSA staff explain scientific concepts.

 

Ireland’s Contribution to EFSA

National Focal Point

The national focal points are considered EFSA’s ‘ambassadors’ in the Member States. In Ireland, the FSAI is named as the national focal point. They serve as relay contacts between risk managers, national authorities, research institutes, stakeholders and consumers in the Member States and ensure the adequate and timely two-way exchange of all relevant information. The role of the focal point is to keep EFSA and Advisory Forum members informed of national risk assessment and scientific developments. The network of focal points coordinate communications with risk assessment institutes in the Member States and are closely involved in work programmes conducted by EFSA and by national authorities.

Further details on the role of the Focal Point in Ireland can be found in our information leaflet Food Safety Authority of Ireland: EFSA Focal Point.  

You can contact the FSAI Focal Point by emailing: focalpoint@fsai.ie

Article 36 List

The Article 36 List is a list of competent organisations that are eligible to assist EFSA in its tasks through responding to calls for proposals (Article 36 grants). 

The organisations included on the Article 36 List are designated by Member States with the support of EFSA Focal Points and must comply with criteria set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2230/2004. Since organisations evolve and needs change with regards to scientific and policy developments, the list is regularly reviewed.

Networking with these organisations facilitates the coordination of activities, exchange of information, development and implementation of joint scientific projects, as well as the sharing of expertise and best practices in the fields within EFSA’s remit.

Scientific projects are supported by EFSA through grants and public procurement. Organisations can submit proposals for grants following the publication of calls for proposals (open to Article 36 organisations only) or following publication of calls for tenders (open to all applicants according to the specifications of the call).

Benefits of becoming an Article 36 organisation include; funding opportunities, access to information and networking opportunities. See more information on Article 36 on the EFSA website.

Advisory Forum

EFSA’s Advisory Forum connects EFSA with the national food safety authorities of all EU Member States. Its members represent each national body responsible for risk assessment in the EU. Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive Officer, FSAI, represents Ireland on the Advisory Forum.

The Forum is at the heart of EFSA’s collaborative approach to working with the EU Member States. Through it, EFSA and the Member States can join forces in addressing European risk assessment and risk communications issues.

Members use the Forum to advise EFSA on scientific matters, its work programme and priorities, and to address emerging risk issues as early as possible.

EFSA Scientific Committee and Panels

EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels are composed of highly qualified experts in scientific risk assessment, with a breadth of expertise allowing EFSA to address all aspects of its remit: from food and feed safety to nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. Members of EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels are appointed through a rigorous selection procedure on the basis of proven scientific excellence. The scientists work for EFSA in an independent capacity bringing their expertise and experience from a diverse range of backgrounds together in a joint assessment result.

The Irish members of EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels are as follows:

  • Dr Declan Bolton, Principal Research Officer, Teagasc is a member of the Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards.
  • Dr Christina Tlustos, Chief Specialist in Chemical Safety, FSAI, is a member of the Scientific Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids.
  • Prof Simon More, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysus, UCD, is Chair of the Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare 
  • Dr Margaret Good, Senior Superintending Veterinary Inspector, DAFM, is a member of the Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare

Advice from EFSA's Scientific Committee's is delivered in the form of scientific opinions, which are published in the EFSA Journal, an open-access, online journal. The EFSA Journal has been accepted for indexation by leading bibliographic databases such as CABI, SciFinder and ISI Web of Science.

 

EU-FORA - The EUropean FOod Risk Assessment Fellowship Programme

EFSA’s EU-FORA fellowship programme offers a unique opportunity to motivated early to mid-career scientists from EU national risk assessment authorities and any other Article 36 organisation to increase their knowledge and experience in food safety risk assessment.

The programme’s principal focus lies on chemical and microbiological risk assessment. It is aimed at professionals with a background in fields such as molecular biology, biology, microbiology, veterinary/human medicine, agronomy/agricultural science, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental science, food technology or toxicology.

For a period of 12 months, fellows will be placed at another European organisation involved in food safety risk assessment outside their home country. They will be fully integrated in the hosting organisations, participate in their work, gain first-hand experience and increase their knowledge of many scientific aspects relevant to food safety risk assessment.

Learn more about EU-FORA

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Last reviewed: 13/12/2016

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