Topic 2 Food Safety Initiatives in the EU policy

EFSA – European Food Safety Authority

Apart from the General Food Law, EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority established by the EC, provides the Commission scientific support on food-related matters, runs risk assessments, and informs all stakeholders and the public to ensure their safety.

RASFF – Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed

RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) established in 1979 is a communication system between the “[…] EU Member State[s’] national food safety authorities, [the] Commission, [the] EFSA, [the] ESA, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland [which] provides a round-the-clock service to ensure that urgent notifications are sent, received, and responded to collectively and efficiently” (EC, n.d.4). RASFF features two online platforms, one searchable database with updates on the latest RASFF alerts and the consumers’ portal which contains all recent food recalls and local alerts across the EU (ibid.).

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PAFF Committee

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee) consists of national experts from all EU countries responsible for ensuring that “Union measures on food and feed safety, animal health & welfare as well as plant health are practical and effective” (EC, n.d.3). There are 14 different sections of the Committee (ibid.):

  1. Animal Health and Welfare
  2. Animal Nutrition
  3. Biological Safety of the Food Chain
  4. Controls and Import Conditions
  5. Forest Reproductive Materials
  6. General Food Law
  7. Genetically Modified Food and Feed and Environmental Risk
  8. Novel Food and Toxicological Safety
  9. Phytopharmaceuticals
  10. Plant Health
  11. Propagating Material and Plants of Fruit Genera and Species
  12. Propagating Material of Ornamental Plants
  13. Seeds and Propagating Material for Agriculture and Horticulture
  14. Vine

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Food redistribution

In line with the EU Regulation No 2021/821 and to reduce food waste, food business operators are allowed to redistribute food that after control is considered fit for consumption and not harmful to health. This initiative is subject to conditions:

  • Food for which a “use by” date is applied must be redistributed before the expiry date
  • Food for which a minimum durability date is applied can be redistributed up to and after that date
  • Food for which a minimum durability date is not required can be redistributed any time.

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