At the 2008 edition of the EuroScience Open Forum, Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle kindly took some time out to explain to EUFIC the agency’s current projects and the state of food safety in Europe. Click on the "Play Now" button to listen to the podcast interview.
About the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was set up in January 2002, following a series of food crises in the late 1990s, as an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain. EFSA was created as part of a comprehensive programme to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply.
The overall purpose of EFSA risk communications is to provide appropriate, consistent, accurate and timely communications to all interested parties and stakeholders and to the public at large, based on the Authority’s risk assessments and scientific expertise. In order to be effective, risk communications must explain and contextualize risk. In developing communications, EFSA’s aim is to translate scientific evidence into accessible and meaningful communications, addressing the needs of key audiences. EFSA seeks to involve stakeholders and Member States in the risk communications process in order to ensure that messages are culturally sensitive and address appropriately key public concerns.
About Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle
Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle has been EFSA’s Executive Director since July 2006 and was previously one of the two Vice-Chairs of EFSA's Management Board from 2002.
Throughout her career, Ms Geslain-Lanéelle has held several positions of responsibility within the food sector. In 2000, she was appointed Director General of the Food Department within the French Agricultural Ministry at the height of the BSE crisis in France. In this post, she was responsible for managing health risks related to food, animal health and welfare, and plant protection as well as risk communications.
Ms Geslain-Lanéelle remained in this post until April 2003 when she became Regional Director of Agriculture and Forestry for the Ile de France region.
She has held a number of international positions, notably as Chair of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on General Principles in 2001 and 2002, as well as Deputy Director of the French Department of International Trade from 1998 to 2000, managing French food aid. Here she worked closely with the European Commission and several other international organisations, working to promote the European agricultural model.
She also worked at the European Commission from 1991 to 1993 as a National Expert at DG III (DG Industry and Internal Market) in the area of food safety.
Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle has a Master of Science from the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon and from the Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural, des Eaux et des Forêts.