1. Introduction

Recent food safety events in Europe

Over recent decades Europe was struck by a number of food crises, such as:

These crises caused a growing public unease about the safety of foods. European consumers now worry about an extensive range of food related issues, such as pathogens, prion diseases, the use of pesticides in farming, genetic modification and food additives.

At the same time, the European Community and its Member States increasingly recognise food safety as an important Risk Management priority. There are four main reasons for this:

Faced with these challenges, the EU and many Member States have decided to re-examine food safety policy and re-structure institutional risk regulation. In several cases there have been major institutional changes since the turning point of the BSE crisis. These include for example the establishment of a new European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other new food safety agencies such as Agence Française de la Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA) in France and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom.