Transparency and consumer trust in scientific assessments under European food law

Alie de Boer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


European food law is a newly developing field in which different branches of law come together. The field is however also unmistakably linked with nutritional sciences, in requesting scientific evidence to ensure safety and benefits of foodstuffs. The risk analysis cycle introduced in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, ensures that scientific information – regarding i.a. the safety of a product – is independently and transparently assessed by risk assessors who are not involved in the final political risk management decision, in which this scientific information is used to allow such a product on the market. The European Food Safety Authority’s mission as assessor is to independently and transparently conduct risk assessments, which are published in scientific opinions. Transparency of both the procedure and of the Authority’s role, key in these assessments, are however two of the shortcomings identified in the evaluation of the Regulation 178/2002 that was conducted recently. In a proposed update of the Regulation, transparency of risk assessment is therefore one of the main aspects to be improved. This originates from the understanding that such improved transparency of the European food safety system will result in increased consumer trust. After shorty reviewing the development of European food law and the proposed adjustments to the framework regulation, this chapter shows that the concept of transparency, mostly understood as increasing the availability of information, requires to be further specified to ensure it actually contributes to consumer trust. The proposed adjustments to the Regulation 178/2002 are expected to increase information availability, whilst improved risk communication strategies might aid in establishing consumer trust. Further specifying the concept of transparency will result in an increased understanding of how to operationalise it and how transparency can contribute to increasing consumer trust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe functional field of food law
Subtitle of host publicationReconciling the market and human rights
EditorsAltinay Urazbaeva, Anna Szajkowska, Bart Wernaart, Nikolaas Tilkin Franssens, Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-8686-885-8
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-334-1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019

Publication series

SeriesEuropean Institute for Food Law


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