The Agency in Europe
The Food Standards Agency represents the UK Government on food safety and standards issues in the European Union. We are also involved in the nutrition and health agenda at a European level.
The Agency consults widely in seeking to help develop a framework of well founded, proportionate and effective European food law, taking into account the principles of better regulation. As well as working in close collaboration with other Government departments, the Agency has regular contact with the Council of the European Union, the Commission, Standing Committees, the European Parliament and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The Government is currently carrying out a review of the balance of competences between the European Union and the UK.
The FSA's role representing the UK also enables it to share knowledge and expertise with other member states and to work with them to improve food safety within the EU. The Agency has built up a good network with counterpart authorities and works with the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) unit of the Commission to provide assistance to new member states.
European Food Safety Authority
EFSA is an independent source of scientific advice on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain. In Europe risk assessment is separate from risk management. As the risk assessor, EFSA produces scientific opinions and advice to provide a foundation for European policies and legislation and to support the European Commission, European Parliament and EU member states. EFSA works in close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders.
EFSA’s remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health.
EFSA Focal Points
The Focal Point in each member state acts as a contact between EFSA and the different national food safety authorities, research institutes, consumers and other EFSA-related stakeholders.
Each national Focal Point feeds into the Advisory Forum and helps promote stronger networking and cooperation. They help raise EFSA's profile and ensure the exchange of scientific information between EFSA and the member states. They also provide advice on joint projects, such as the database of experts and the list of competent organisations capable of assisting EFSA with its tasks (in line with Article 36 of EFSA’s founding regulation).
EFSA’s scientific committee and panels
EFSA’s scientific committee and panels carry out EFSA’s scientific risk assessment work. The committees and panels are made up of experts from across Europe and are appointed through open selection.
EFSA Advisory Forum
Through the Advisory Forum, member states advise EFSA on scientific matters, its work programmes and priorities and to identify emerging issues as early as possible. Its members represent the national body responsible for risk in each of the EU member states.
Dr Andrew Wadge, the Agency's Chief Scientist, is the UK's member of the Advisory Forum and Dr Alison Gleadle is his deputy.
EFSA Applications Helpdesk
EU legislation requires various food products, and other substances used in food, to have EU-wide approval to ensure they are safe and that any claims made about them are not misleading. Food businesses are required to make an application for approval, which the competent authority, for example the FSA, will forward to the European Commission and to EFSA so they can undertake the necessary scientific evaluation.
The EFSA Applications Helpdesk allows applicants, member states and other stakeholders to access information about applications and submit specific questions related to the legal and technical requirements for evaluations. More about the helpdesk can be found at the link below.
EFSA video explaining risk assessment of food and feed
EFSA video explaining risk assessment of food and feed EFSA website.
You can download the video if you wish to save it and view it offline. The download will take up to 25 minutes, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Downloadable EFSA video (zip 94.4 Mb)
Get in touch
For more information, please contact the Agency's European and International Strategy Team:
tel: 020 7276 8664
For more information on the UK focal point: contact the Chief Scientist’s team:
Alisdair Wotherspoon or Esther Heller
More in this section
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishes newsletters covering all aspects of its work. The EFSA in Focus newsletters report on the authority’s work relating to plants, animals and food.
EFSA uses the expertise of scientists from across Europe to assist with its work.
The Government is carrying out a review of the balance of competences between the EU and the UK. This is an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK.