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Consumer health and food safety: Towards a European Union food policy

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on "Consumer health and food safety" aimed at introducing a proper food policy for the European Union. The Commission has already separated responsibilities for legislation from those for scientific advice and control, and pu...

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on "Consumer health and food safety" aimed at introducing a proper food policy for the European Union. The Commission has already separated responsibilities for legislation from those for scientific advice and control, and put the latter under the responsibility of the Commissioner in charge of consumer policy and health protection, Ms. Emma Bonino. The relevant Directorate General (DG XXIV) will, in addition, be strengthened by an increased staff of 263 officials. The Commission's Communication indicates that scientific advice will be sought from eminent and fully independent scientists, that their opinions and working methods will be accessible to all interested parties, and that scientific committees will be regrouped and coordinated by a Scientific Steering Committee. Control and inspection will be pursued on the basis of priorities set under risk assessment procedures, a "plough to plate" approach covering the whole food chain, and formal audit procedures assessing national control systems. The new approach will be implemented through the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office which will be established in Ireland. The Commission will ensure a rapid follow-up of food safety emergencies through safeguard measures and a rapid alert system. The Communication explains in detail the new approach of the Commission on consumer health and food safety, in particular with respect to scientific advice and to control and inspection.

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