The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was established in 2002 and its legal basis is Regulation 178/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety.
Chapter III of the Regulation sets out EFSA's responsibilities, structure, basic operating principles for the provision of scientific information, as well as the duty of independence, transparency and confidentiality.
EFSA is the main food safety risk assessment body in the EU and its main "consumer" is the European Commission, which makes legislative changes where necessary on the basis of the results of the studies and risk assessments carried out.
EFSA, in cooperation with national authorities and other organisations in the food sector, provides scientific advice to the EU institutions and the EU Member States on issues that directly or indirectly affect food and feed safety, as well as in areas such as animal health and welfare and plant protection. EFSA's main areas of expertise are risk assessment and risk communication. In particular, EFSA's responsibilities include providing risk managers (European Commission, European Parliament and Council) with a sound scientific basis for legislative development and regulatory objectives.
For more information on EFSA, see the booklet "Science protecting consumers from field to fork"