In the first official reaction involving food safety in Europe since the BREXIT vote has come in the form of a new “Declaration of Commitment” that has member states reaffirming their support for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
BREXIT was the referendum process that culminated in last June’s vote by residents of the United Kingdom that saw a near 52 percent vote to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger the EU Article 50 withdrawal process by March 2017, meaning the UK would again be independent of the EU and its bureaucracies like the EFSA by the end of March 2019.
The coming separation has the EU feeling a little uncertain, and the “Declaration of Commitment” came up at the recent EFSA Advisory Forum(AF), which was met at Bratislava in the Slovak Republic. The AF has been around since 2003 to link mostly member states with Europe’s top food safety agency.
In a statement, EFSA said in the new Declaration that member states “have agreed on a range of measures and activities that will ensure that EFSA and Advisory Forum members can together meet future challenges in the area of food safety and so protect European consumers.
The EFSA statement went on to say that Dr Zuzana Bírošová, the Slovak representative on EFSA’s Advisory Forum, welcomed the signing of the declaration, which she said would help to strengthen relationships between EFSA and food safety institutions in the member states. The Declaration “promotes scientific excellence and scientific networking, allows member states to contribute to the EU risk assessment agenda and collect information on potential or emerging risks to food safety,” she added.
EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url said: “The Declaration of Commitment by the members confirms that we are moving from cooperating to a partnership between EFSA and Advisory Forum members. Our shared goal is a common EU risk assessment agenda to promote harmonization of food safety risk assessment and consistent communication in the interest of consumer protection.”
EFSA says the Advisory Forum has been a “key platform for forging stronger links between EFSA and EU Member States. “This cooperation has helped to inform EFSA’s risk assessment work programs, promote the exchange of information and data, develop scientific networks and shape a coherent approach to risk communication,” the statement added.
Slovakia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meetings there were the 61st since the Advisory Forum was founded.
In the Declaration, member states agreed to:
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