The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has initiated Focal Points in the Member States to act as an interface between EFSA and the different national food safety authorities, research institutes, consumers and other EFSA-related stakeholders. The Focal Points ensure the exchange of food safety information between EFSA and national stakeholders through a national network.
EFSA is the keystone of European Union food and feed safety risk assessment. In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientific advice and clear communication on existing and emerging risks.
EFSA is connected with national food safety authorities via the EFSA Advisory Forum (AF). Through the AF, Member States advise EFSA on scientific matters as well on EFSA’s work programme and priorities.
The AF also helps address emerging risk issues as early as possible.
The main benefits anticipated from this cooperation includes the sharing of the burden of risk assessments, easy access to expertise not available at home and, in general, making the most efficient use of sparse and finite resources.
Maltese Focal Point of EFSA
In Malta, the Focal Point of the European Food Safety Authority is the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA).
What is the role of the Focal Point?
The role of the Focal Point is to act as a collaborative centre in Malta with the primary responsibility to support the Maltese representative of the Advisory Forum in gathering data and transferring information between EFSA and relevant bodies in Malta, which include risk managers, national authorities, stakeholders and research institutes in the fields of risk assessments on food and feed safety, animal and plant health, animal welfare and nutrition, and in communications in these areas.
The tasks for the Focal Point in supporting the Advisory Forum member of Malta shall be as follows:
We would like to inform you that on 26 June 2019, EFSA published the 2017 European Union report on pesticide residues in food:
Please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries.
Animal Health and Welfare
EFSA was awarded by the annual Ombudsman Award for Good Administration 2019 – section Excellence through collaboration for the initiatives and projects it carried out, in particular the EFSA’s MUST-B project and the EU Bee Partnership.
The link to the dedicated EFSA news story where you can also find out more about the bee health projects is the following:
EFSA Third Scientific Conference
We are glad to inform you that the special issue of the EFSA Journal on the EFSA Conference 2018 - Science, Food, Society is now available for consultation and download.
The link to the dedicated EFSA Journal webpage is the following:
Data Visualisation Products
We would like to remind you that EFSA has developed several tools to graphically display data. One of these is the interactive tool explaining the main issues and concepts within chemical mixtures through graphics and animations. The tool complements the guidance on harmonised methods for assessing risks from combined exposure to multiple chemicals for humans, animals and the environment.
Please follow the link to the tool: Chemical Mixtures Interactive Infographic
Scientific Opinion ‘Appropriate age range for introduction of complementary feeding into an infant’s diet’
We would like to inform you that on 12 September 2019, EFSA published the Scientific Opinion ‘Appropriate age range for introduction of complementary feeding into an infant’s diet’.
The link to the dedicated EFSA Journal webpage is the following: Appropriate age range for introduction of complementary feeding into an infant’s diet
Please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com for any enquiries.
EU‐FORA: Series 2
We would like to inform you that the Second Special Issue of EFSA journal containing the Technical Reports of the second cohort of EU-FORA fellows, has been published.
Please follow the link to the Special Issue: Special Issue: EU‐FORA: Series 2
Re-evaluation on sweeteners
According to Article 32 of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008, all food additives permitted before 20 January 2009 should be subject to a new risk assessment by EFSA. The programme for the re-evaluation of approved food additives has been set up by Commission Regulation (EU) No 257/2010, which foresees in article 3(b) that the re-evaluation of all approved sweeteners listed in Directive 94/35/EC shall be completed by 31 December 2020.
In order to ensure an effective re-evaluation, it is important that EFSA retrieves all relevant data for the re-evaluation of the selected food additives. As outlined in Regulation (EC) No 257/2010 on the re-evaluation of food additives, in the course of the re-evaluation procedure, EFSA shall:
a) examine the original opinion and the working documents of the Scientific Committee on Food (‘SCF’) or EFSA;
b) examine, where available, the original dossier;
c) examine the data submitted by the interested business operator(s) and/or any other interested party;
d) examine any data made available by the Commission and Member States;
e) identify any relevant literature published since the last evaluation of each food additive.”
In order to address this work a “Protocol for the assessment of hazard identification and characterisation of the sweeteners” has been developed.
All the scientific details on this protocol can be found here: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/consultations/call/190705.
This document outlines the draft protocol for the hazard identification and characterisation of sweeteners in the context of Regulation (EC) No 257/2010 by the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF Panel), supported by the Working Group on the re-evaluation of sweeteners. This draft protocol has been developed with the aim of defining as much as possible beforehand the strategy to be applied for collecting and selecting data, appraising the relevant evidence, and analysing and integrating the evidence in order to draw conclusions that will form the basis for the scientific opinions.
This protocol has been developed following the principles and process illustrated in the EFSA PROMETHEUS project (PROmoting METHods for Evidence Use in Scientific assessments) (EFSA, 2015). This protocol is iterative by nature and will be subject to a pilot phase. Should the need to amend the protocol emerge as the assessment proceeds, such amendments will be clearly documented and justified.
This protocol is applied to hazard identification and hazard characterisation. Exposure will be assessed following a separate protocol which will also undergo public consultation later in autumn.
Risk characterisation will be performed based on the outcome of hazard characterisation and exposure assessment
Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) in infant formula
The European Commission has asked EFSA to carry out a rapid assessment on the risks for public health related to the presence of mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) in infant formula and follow-on formula. This follows the recent detection by NGO Foodwatch of MOAH in certain batches of infant formula in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The Commission has asked competent national authorities in these countries to sample the concerned batches and investigate the source of contamination. The results from this sampling will then be assessed by EFSA and we are required to deliver our evaluation to the European Commission by 18 November.
Further information about this request can be found in the mandate http://registerofquestions.efsa.europa.eu/roqFrontend/questionLoader?question=EFSA-Q-2019-00691 from the European Commission to EFSA.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact: UrgentRequest1@efsa.europa.eu
Previous EFSA’s work: in 2012, EFSA published a scientific assessment on risks to human health through dietary exposure to MOH. More information on this opinion can be found in the news story and scientific opinion HERE.
Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) in infant formula - EFSA report published
The technical report “Rapid risk assessment on the possible risk for public health due to the contamination of infant formula and follow-on formula by mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons” was published on Monday 18.11.2019. Please follow the link to the report: Rapid risk assessment on the possible risk for public health due to the contamination of infant formula and follow-on formula by mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons.
EFSA call for data - safety assessment of heat-treated chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.)
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a Call for data relevant to the safety assessment of heat-treated chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) in the framework of Regulation 2283/2015.
The detailed call is published on EFSA’s website here: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/consultations/call/call-data-relevant-safety-assessment-heattreated-chia-seeds-salvia
Please note that by 25 November 2019 the interested parties shall communicate to EFSA (via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) their availability to submit the requested information.
The deadline for submission of data is 25 February 2020.
Updates on Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)
EFSA has published its latest summary on the monitoring of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in the EU. The report provides results on data collected in 2018 by all EU Member States, Iceland, North Macedonia, Norway and Switzerland.
The main findings are:
Please follow the links to the topic and the report:
Should you have any questions, please write back to email@example.com
Phthalates in plastic food contact materials
On 10th December 2019, EFSA published a scientific opinion on the update of the risk assessment of di-butylphthalate (DBP),butyl-benzyl-phthalate (BBP), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), di-isononylphthalate (DINP) and diisodecylphthalate (DIDP) for use in food contact materials.
The publication was accompanied by the news story “FAQ on Phthalates in plastic food contact materials”, which is available in English, French, German and Italian.
The key messages are:
For further information on the scientific opinion, please contact Katharina Volk (Katharina.firstname.lastname@example.org).
For further information on the news story, please contact Anthony Smith (email@example.com).
Salmonella the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks in the European Union
On 12th December 2019, EFSA and ECDC published a news story on “Salmonella the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks in the European Union”, which is available in English, French, German and Italian.
For your information, the key messages are:
For further information on the expert working group, please contact Frank Boelaert (Frank.Boelaert@efsa.europa.eu)
SAVE THE DATE | Modern technologies to enable response to crises: Next Generation Sequencing to tackle food-borne diseases in the EU | March, 10 2020
We are pleased to inform you that the working group on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of the EURLs biorisks (Anti-Microbial Resistance, Campylobacter, E. coli, Foodborne viruses, Listeria, Parasite, Salmonella and Staphylococci) coordinated by Stefano Morabito (EURL E. coli, ISS, Rome, Italy) is organising a “Science meets policy” conference with the support of the Med-Vet-Net association.
This event entitled “Modern technologies to enable response to crises: Next Generation Sequencing to tackle food-borne diseases in the EU” will take place at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome on 10 March 2020.
It aims to discuss the vision and challenges of the NGS technology in its adoption at the EU level as well as in its use for multi country outbreaks. This would be the place to highlight possible hindrances to endorse NGS at country level, the need for a legal framework but also to consider possible solutions.
For more details please find a flyer describing the initiative and the provisional agenda.
Please refer to the following link for online registration: Modern technologies to enable response to crises: Next Generation Sequencing to tackle food-borne diseases in the EU
Public consultation: new recommendations for applicants on whole genome sequence analysis of microorganisms
We would like to inform you that on 16 January 2020, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched the public consultation on the EFSA statement on the requirements for whole genome sequence analysis of microorganisms intentionally used in the food chain.
The document provides guidance to applicants who wish to place such products on the market.
Please note that the deadline for the interested parties to submit comments is 28 February 2020.
Please follow the links to the dedicated EFSA webpages where you will find all relevant information and documents.
Public Consultation on data collection on products or materials to present a risk to transmit ASF virus
We would like to inform you that EFSA's Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) has launched an open consultation on a draft data section of the scientific opinion on risk assessment of African Swine Fever and the ability of products or materials to present a risk to transmit ASF virus. This draft section lists data on the ability of ASFV to survive and remain viable in different matrices and information on matrix production/ processing parameters that allow to understand if the production/ processing of the matrix would allow the virus to remain viable, should the matrix have been contaminated with ASFV before production/ processing.
Interested parties are invited to submit written comments by 28 February 2020. Please use the electronic template provided to submit comments and refer to the line and page numbers. To submit additional data to support your comments or files, there is an upload function available in the tool (for a maximum size of 1Mb file). Otherwise you can also contact the ALPHA Unit functional mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that comments will not be considered if they:
EFSA will assess all comments which are submitted in line with the criteria above. The comments will be further considered by the relevant EFSA Panel and taken into consideration if found to be relevant.
Rapid Outbreak Assessment report “Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to eggs”
On Thursday, 6th February 2020, EFSA and ECDC published the Rapid Outbreak Assessment report “Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to eggs, fourth update”.
The main conclusion of the report is that the outbreak is still ongoing and since no evidence was provided that the source of contamination has been eliminated, it is expected that further infections will occur and that new cases will be reported in the coming months. Additional investigations are necessary to identify the source of contamination.
For further information on the report, please contact Mirko Rossi (Mirko.Rossi@efsa.europa.eu )
SAVE THE DATE | Modern technologies to enable response to crises: Next Generation Sequencing to tackle food-borne diseases in the EU | March, 10 2020
This is to remind you that it is still possible to register to the working group on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of the EURLs biorisks (Anti-Microbial Resistance, Campylobacter, E. coli, Foodborne viruses, Listeria, Parasite, Salmonella and Staphylococci) coordinated by Stefano Morabito (EURL E. coli, ISS, Rome, Italy) is organising a “Science meets policy” conference with the support of the Med-Vet-Net association.
This event is entitled “Modern technologies to enable response to crises: Next Generation Sequencing to tackle food-borne diseases in the EU” and it will take place at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome on 10 March 2020.
For your information, the registrations will be accepted on a first come first served basis (max. 250 seats available).
Link for the online registration:
"SCIENCE MEETS POLICY" CONFERENCE: Modern technologies to enable response to crises: Next Generation Sequencing to tackle food-borne diseases in the EU