This paper is a comparative survey of the National Food Safety Systems (NFSS) of the European Union (EU) Member-States (MS) and the Central EU level. The main organizational structures of the NFSS, their legal frameworks, their responsibilities, their experiences, and challenges relating to food safety are discussed. Growing concerns about food safety have led the EU itself, its MS and non-EU countries, which are EU trade-partners, to review and modify their food safety systems. Our study suggests that the EU and 22 out of 27 Member States (MS) have reorganized their NFSS by establishing a single food safety authority or a similar organization on the national or central level. In addition, the study analyzes different approaches towards the establishment of such agencies. Areas where marked differences in approaches were seen included the division of responsibilities for risk assessment (RA), risk management (RM), and risk communication (RC). We found that in 12 Member States, all three areas of activity (RA, RM, and RC) are kept together, whereas in 10 Member States, risk management is functionally or institutionally separate from risk assessment and risk communication. No single ideal model for others to follow for the organization of a food safety authority was observed; however, revised NFSS, either in EU member states or at the EU central level, may be more effective from the previous arrangements, because they provide central supervision, give priority to food control programs, and maintain comprehensive risk analysis as part of their activities.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The statements, opinions and data contained in the journal are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publisher and the editor(s). We stay neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.