Much attention was given to the key issue of resourcing the growth plans of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) at its 10th Management Board meeting held yesterday.
Although the EFSA is operational in its main task of assessing food risk in the EU, it still only has a small proportion of its envisaged staff in place. Consequently, the plans for moving forward in this area were discussed extensively.
"A lot of progress has been made since executive director, Geoffrey Podger, took up his position in February," said Management Board chairman, Stuart Slorach. "In addition to the EFSA becoming operational in its main task of risk assessment, by setting up the Scientific Committee and panels, its networking activities have also gone ahead at full speed. The links with the Member States are becoming firmly established via our Advisory Forum, and links with industry and consumer representative bodies are in the process of being set up. Therefore, it is fundamental that we keep pace with these developments by putting the necessary support staff in place."
Since the beginning of the year, the staff of the EFSA has more than doubled in size to around 50 people. However, this is around one fifth of its planned size of 200-300 people by the end of 2005; an estimate which is based on the requirements in the present Regulation and takes no account of further work which may be allocated to EFSA.
To allow the EFSA to accommodate its growing staff, the Management Board have agreed that the Authority should temporarily move to larger premises in Brussels, prior to a decision being made on the permanent location. The new building is at Rue de Genève 10, 1140 Brussels, which is close to the existing headquarters, and the move will take place on 3rd October.