Documents considered by the Committee on 30 January 2019 Contents

13Transparency of EU food safety risk assessment

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain amending Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 [on general food law], Directive 2001/18/EC [on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs], Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 [on GM food and feed], Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 [on feed additives], Regulation (EC) No 2065/2003 [on smoke flavourings], Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 [on food contact materials], Regulation (EC) No 1331/2008 [on the common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings], Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 [on plant protection products] and Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283 [on novel foods]

Legal base

Articles 43, 114 and 168(4)(b) TFEU, QMV, Ordinary legislative procedure

Department

Food Standards Agency

Document Number

(39676), 8518/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 179

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

13.1To address concerns about the transparency of the EU’s food safety risk assessment process and the effectiveness of risk communication, the Commission proposed a number of improvements to the General Food Law (GFL) Regulation178 and consequential amendments to a series of sectoral laws relating to specific types of food.

13.2We last considered the proposal at our meeting of 12 December 2018. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Steve Brine MP) has since written179 to update us on the progress of negotiations and to request that the Committee consider clearing the document from scrutiny.

13.3The Minister informs the Committee that the Council agreed a General Approach on 18 December, but we understand that the UK registered an abstention due to the scrutiny reserve.

13.4On the content of the General Approach, the Minister explains that it amends the Commission proposal in a number of ways which alleviate many of the concerns raised by the UK. Notably:

13.5On the question of an impact assessment, the Minister says that the Commission has provided further details on the proposed increases to the budget for EFSA and how this has been calculated. The impact of this for the UK remains subject to negotiations on our future relationship. Some representatives of the food industry have concerns that early release of data will give more time for competitors to develop rival products and so provide less return on investment for companies researching innovative products. However, it is not possible to quantify these impacts.

13.6As the Government expects the proposal to return quickly to Council after the Coreper (Committee of Member State Permanent Representatives to the EU) meeting on 16 January, the Minister invites the Committee to consider clearing the proposal from scrutiny.

13.7We note that a General Approach was agreed by Council in December. While we understand that the UK abstained, the Minister ought to have set this out—including the reasons for abstention—in his letter. We ask him to confirm the stance taken by the UK when he next writes.

13.8Given the positive outcome of negotiations in Council, we are content to clear this proposal from scrutiny. We note, though, that negotiations with the European Parliament are ongoing and so we request a final update once those discussions have concluded, but before the text is formally agreed.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain amending Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 [on general food law], Directive 2001/18/EC [on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs], Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 [on GM food and feed], Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 [on feed additives], Regulation (EC) No 2065/2003 [on smoke flavourings], Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 [on food contact materials], Regulation (EC) No 1331/2008 [on the common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings], Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 [on plant protection products] and Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283 [on novel foods]: (39676), 8518/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 179.

Previous Committee Reports

Forty-eighth Report HC 301–xlvii (2017–19), chapter 5 (12 December 2019); Thirty-first Report HC 301–xxx (2017–19), chapter 3 (13 June 2018).


178 Regulation No 178/2002.

179 Letter from Steve Brine MP to Sir William Cash MP, dated 18 January 2019 (received 21 January 2019).




Published: 5 February 2019