Biotech Updates

Science and Innovation in Food Chain

May 13, 2010

How can those in the food chain provide safe and healthy food for a growing population? How can agricultural and food production systems be sustainable in the long term? These were some questions that representatives of the food chain in Europe tried to answer during a conference in Parma, Italy on May 10, 2010. The conference was organized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, under the auspices of the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers (Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri).

"Europe has a thriving food industry backed by centuries of tradition and know-how. Innovation can bring major benefits for both the consumer and the environment and it is important to assess the risks and benefits of new technologies. For EFSA, that can mean new applications to assess efficacy, and the need to either develop new risk assessment methodologies or refine existing ones. It can be challenging insofar as data in areas of new science such as nanotechnology or GMOs can be limited and there may be significant areas of scientific uncertainty to address and communicate; but we are committed to meeting those challenges and to ensuring that European legislation is grounded in the best science," said Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, EFSA's Executive Director.

Italian Minister for Health, Ferruccio Fazio said that Italy will participate actively in the process of innovation to ensure sustainable food production. He added that Italy has a model for safety in food production that can be shared with the rest of Europe.

Read EFSA's press release at