The EFSA has published its 2009 annual report

Founded in 2002 in response to a series of food crises (BSE, dioxin, etc.), the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) plays a vital role in the field of food safety and risk assessment. Every year the Authority strengthens its support for its partners charged with risks management at the European Commission, European Parliament and within the Member States that look to it for advice. In 2009, the number of requests for advice increased to 317 from 285 in 2008. As a result, 636 scientific outputs were issued, 30% more than in 2008.

The EFSA’s expertise in the field of risks assessment covers the entire food chain, “ from the field to the fork”.  It is active in all fields related to the safety of food destined for human or animal consumption, the health and well-being of animals, nutrition, and the protection of plant health.  
The EFSA has also launched its new strategic plan for 2009-2013 that concentrates on six objectives: an integrated approach to risk assessment; high quality assessments by the given deadline; the collection of data at EU level; the creation of international partnerships; communication and dialogue; responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency.   
In terms of efficiency, 2009 was the year that brought implementation of the final phase of the Internal and External Examination System (INEX). This involved appointing independent experts who carried out an external audit of scientific publications.  
The list of partner organisations qualified to assist the EFSA increased from 243 to 371 in the Member States as a whole. The 2009 assessment of marine biotoxins provided a notable example of the multidisciplinary and cooperative effort involved in EFSA missions
In keeping with the same spirit of cooperation, in 2009 the EFSA held more frequent meetings with the representatives of Member States. The Consultative Forum met on five occasions and targeted meetings were arranged in the interests of a coherent approach in specific fields and to keep Member States informed of the latest developments.  
Activities linked to the assessment of products, substances and claims that require authorisation according to European legislation have experienced constant growth. Requests for authorisation represented 68% of scientific outputs. These covered many fields: the management of authorisation requests; GMOs; health claims; active substances in phytopharmaceutical products; additives destined for animal foodstuffs; food additives and materials in contact with food and aromas.  
To improve its exposure assessments, the CFSA collected detailed data to compile an exhaustive database on food consumption.  
Also worthy of mention is the publication of the first annual reports on pesticide residue and on zoonoses and epidemics of food origin at European level as well as the contribution made to the detection of emerging risks. The Emerging Risks Unit (EMRISK) has developed new tools for the effective monitoring and analysis of data, in particular on the basis of the RASFF system.  
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