Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Seventh Report


54 Common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings

(27750)

12180/06

COM(06) 423

Draft Regulation establishing a common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings

Legal baseArticle 95EC; co-decision; QMV
Document originated28 July 2006
Deposited in Parliament22 August 2006
DepartmentFood Safety Agency
Basis of considerationEM of 29 August 2006
Previous Committee ReportNone
To be discussed in CouncilNo date set
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared

Background

54.1 We are reporting separately on three other proposals put forward by the Commission which seek to lay down harmonised criteria and requirements for the assessment and authorisation of food enzymes, food additives and food flavourings.[137] In this document, the Commission seeks to establish common procedures for authorising products in these different areas, and for updating any such authorisations.

The current proposal

54.2 More specifically, the Commission proposes:

  • that changes to the Community list of authorised products may be initiated by the Commission itself, or following an application from a Member State or other interested party;
  • that Member States should be informed of any such application, and the opinion of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) sought;
  • that the EFSA should provide an opinion within six months,[138] and communicate this to the Commission, the Member States, and, where appropriate, the applicant;
  • that within nine months of the EFSA giving its opinion, the Commission should submit to the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health a draft regulation updating the Community list (together with an explanation if this differs from the EFSA's opinion); and
  • that any such regulation should be adopted in accordance with the standard comitology[139] procedures.

The proposal also provides for the adoption by the Commission of further detailed authorisation requirements, and for measures to ensure transparency and confidentiality.

The Government's view

54.3 In her Explanatory Memorandum of 29 August 2006, the Minister of State for Public Health at the Department of Health (Caroline Flint) says that the proposal is welcome since it will ensure that Community legislation in these areas includes common procedures for approval and review based on risk assessments carried out by the EFSA and risk management decisions taken by the Commission and Member States within the framework of a regulatory committee procedure. She adds that the Government supports this approach as beneficial for both industry and enforcement authorities, and that consumers will also benefit as decisions will be made on the advice of an independent expert body.

Conclusion

54.4 As we have noted, this proposal complements those put forward recently by the Commission laying down harmonised criteria for the assessment and authorisation of food enzymes, food additives and food flavourings. As such, it establishes common procedures, but these are similar to those already adopted by the Community in a number of other areas where decisions of this kind have to be taken, and do not appear to us to raise any major issues. We are therefore clearing the document.


137   See paras 14, 15 and 16 above. Back

138   This may be extended where the EFSA requests additional information. Back

139   These require the proposal to approved by a qualified majority of Member States, failing which it must be referred to the Council for a decision. The Council then has three months to take a view; and, if it does not do so, the Commission may adopt its original proposal. Back


 
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Prepared 26 October 2006