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Food safety is considered a very sensitive part of law and policy making. For many years, member states have been taking issues concerning food as a subject of national competency. This is possibly why the outlook by Europe with regard to food security law was at first associated with common hesitance. This was partially because of the lack of a strong legal basis for the community action in the food sector and also lack of understanding of the great significance of food issues at the national level. As a result, several of the community rules in Europe were established on an informal basis. Therefore, until the outburst of the food crisis, the society did not establish an inclusive food safety policy, but instead a complicated set of isolated regulations (Lecture notes 6).
The BSE crisis acted as a catalyst for the transformation of EU food safety legislation
In the sector of food rules, the society initially resorted to committees, which officially helped with both assessments of risk and risk rules. The 3 major committees functioned in this sector included the Scientific Committee on Foodstuff (SCF), which consisted of self-determining technical specialists; the Standing Committee on foodstuff (StCF), which is composed of national delegates and the Advisory Committee on Foodstuff (ACF), which incorporates the delegates of the interest groupings. All of these committees had a particular role in the regulation procedure, which can be made simply by stating that risk evaluation as conducted by the SCF and managing of risk by the commission and being helped by StCF and ACF (Vos 227-230).
From the operational perspective, the SCF was intended to give technical advice concerning the regulation procedure and the ACF was to notify the one making decisions about the outlooks of numerous stakeholders’ groupings. The StCF was established for the purpose of safeguarding the effectiveness of the rule by making sure that the support of the member states and their eagerness to apply the decisions made. It is the committees’ awkward systems of the organization and operation, which faced the most condemnation for the society’s incompetence in addressing the BSE disaster. The initial report on the alleged mismanagement in the application of the society law that was associated with the BSE crisis issued by the parliament of Europe outlined several problematic issues on various levels, the consequence of which were collective. The first was concerning the rule of misinformation implemented by the commission. The second was about the manner in which national interests were able to win through the interests of the Europeans. And the third was concerning the operational techniques of the agencies, plus the commission and the vagueness of their associations (Vos 231).
It is without a doubt that it was the BSE crisis that forced the society and the member States to tackle the issue of policy inadequacy and to take strict action for the purpose of reforming the food safety system of Europe. The first most important step included the establishment of a solid legal foundation for society action in the food sector, personified in the Amsterdam Treaty Amendment, which initiated a necessity for all society policies and actions for the purpose of ensuring a higher level of individual health protection. This implies that the objective is no longer simply lessen the side effects of the implementation of a single market, but instead to take care of community health protection as well as consumer protection as fully accredited objectives of the integration process of the Europeans (Vos 230).
A fundamental transformation in the move towards food safety rule was also pronounced by the commission in its Green Paper on General Principles of Food Law in the EU, which was later followed by White Paper on Food Safety of 12 January 2000. This newly introduced policy was intended to cover the entire food chain together with all the steps of the decision making procedure. The 3 stakes of risk ruling in the sector of food security that were recognized included; risk evaluation, hazard managing and hazard awareness. The establishment of the European Food Authority was also suggested. To end with, these policy thoughts lead to the adoption of a new ruling on the overall values and constraints of the food law, providing for a logical theoretical approach to the issue (Lecture notes 11). The ruling handles food production as a range that runs from the initial production of animal feed to the distribution of foodstuff to the end user. It also specifically introduces the standards of food law, which includes the preventive principle and the establishment of the European Food Safety Authority as a self-determining basis of systematic recommendation, information as well as risk awareness. The authority is anticipated, as a newly introduced scientific organization to offer the commission technical advice in a free, purposeful and transparent way. Additionally, it is the center of numerous scientific institutes. This way, the EFSA is supposed to allow the Member States to directly take part in technical issues and to ensure co-operation among the authority and the national technical organizations. The rule designates the distribution of roles among food as well as the feed business operators, the member states and society organizations (Vos 233).
E. Vos, EU Food Safety Regulation in the Aftermath of the BSE Crisis, 23 JOURNAL OF CONSUMER POLICY 223-233 (2000).
Lecture Notes. M.Sc. Food Safety Management 2013: Legislation & Regulation pertaining to Microbiological Hazards.