Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
White Paper on Food Safety
On the 13 April, the Consumer Affairs Coucil discussed the Commission's White Paper on Food Safety. The debate focussed on questions related to the provision of scientific information to the consumers, the need for information campaigns on nutrition at Community level and on possible Community provisions to regulate claims regarding consumer health protection.
All Member States intervened in favour of transparency, to be provided in a form understandable by the consumers, some highlighting the role of the proposed Food Safety Authority in this area.
In relation to nutritional campaigns Member States felt that most initiatives should be better taken at national or local level in connection with diversity of consumer habits. Complementary action at EU level was not excluded.
Finally, most delegations were open to the introduction of EU provisions to regulate functional claims on food, as outlined by the Commission's White Paper. The need to avoid uncertainty of consumers through such claims was stressed by all.
The Scientific Standing Committee has also been holding disccussions on the plans for a Food Safety Authority as developed in the Commission's White paper on Food Safety. The scientists agree with the Commission's approach to set up an independent body, but advocated extending its mandate beyond food safety alone to all public health issues, including the safety of non-food products and environmental issues. They also recommended that sufficient human resources should be allocated to the scientific secretariats of the European Food Authority in order to guarantee its optimal functioning.