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EU's food agency battles attempts to hijack science

22 September 2006

EU - Science and politics make poor bedfellows. Just ask Herman Koeter, deputy executive director at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which has felt the push and pull of national politics ever since the agency began operating four years ago.

“Our challenge is indeed to maintain the separation of risk assessment and risk management – indeed our independence,” he told delegates yesterday at the International Union of Food Science & Technology’s bi-annual conference, held this year in Nantes.

Koeter focused on providing an inside look at upcoming issues the agency is dealing with, such as health claims, antibiotics and nanotechnology. Along the way he also described the various political pressures EFSA faces as it strives to maintain a firm line between its independent scientific research and the mire of EU politics.

That division is important to maintain the credibility of the advice the agency gives to European Commission, national regulators, industry and ultimately the public, he said. After all regaining the public’s trust after the BSE and dioxin scares was the raison d’être behind EFSA’s formation in 2002.

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Source: Food And Drink Europe 

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