The chair will coordinate the views and input of the Platform and report to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)'s executive director with regard to general issues relating to the association's work and, in particular, the impact of its work on stakeholders - producers, food companies, consumers, and industry bodies.
The setting up of the Platform, agreed by EFSA's management board on 20 June 2005, is designed to increase the authority's commitment to openness and transparency. It is seen as an effective means of building up consumer trust in the food industry.
Consumer confidence in food is low. A survey by Globescan last year of France, the UK, Germany and Italy found that 36 per cent of consumers believed food safety is worse today than 20 years ago, and another 22 per cent believed it no better.
Issues such as BSE, and a consecutive string of other food safety scares, have made European consumers suspicious and cautious.
The Platform is composed of EU wide stakeholder organisations representing the entirefood chain such as farmers, consumer groups, food industry, and food trade organisationsas well as NGOs active within EFSA's mandate. It will advise EFSA's executivedirector with regard to general issues regarding the work of EFSA and, in particular, withregard to the impact of its work on stakeholders, thereby providing a forum for regulardialogue and exchange.
Sue Davies has been chief policy adviser at the UK consumer association Which?, amember of BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation, for more than ten years.
She has actively worked on food policy for over 14 years and has represented consumer interests on a range of government committees and working groups. Platform members believe that Davies will bring to the role a broad perspective on food and consumer issues as well as strong experience in chairing national and international meetings.
"I would like to thank the members of the Platform for their trust," she said. "I am sure that we will have many interesting discussions and will be able to make a valuable contribution to the work of EFSA.
"I will strive to ensure that all participants have a chance to contribute actively to the dialogue with EFSA."
The Platform is now in the process of selecting two vice-chairs. The EFSA says it will take into account the importance of reflecting the diverse composition of Stakeholder Platform's members.
The vice-chairs will be appointed following the same procedure and for the same periodof time. Platform members also expressed their interest in ensuring that the EFSAmanagement board is kept informed of its activities.
The chair and EFSA secretariat will identify the best way to foster this dialogue.