The work of the independent committees and working groups that advise the Food Standards Agency helps ensure that the Agency's advice to consumers is always based on the best and most recent scientific evidence.
The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) is a non-statutory, independent body of scientific experts that advises the Food Standards Agency on any matters relating to novel foods (including genetically modified foods) and novel processes (including food irradiation).
The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health and other Government Departments and Agencies on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals.
The Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COM) assesses and advises on mutagenic risks to humans, advises on important general principles or new scientific discoveries in connection with mutagenic risks, co-ordinates with other bodies concerned with the assessment of mutagenic risks, and makes recommendations for mutagenicity testing.
The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) was set up more than 15 years ago to provide independent expert scientific advice to the Government on spongiform encephalopathies such as BSE, CJD and scrapie. SEAC's remit is wide-ranging, and covers public health, food safety and animal health issues.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is a UK-wide Advisory Committee set up to replace the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA). It advises the UK health departments as well as the Food Standards Agency.
The Working Party on Materials and Articles in Contact with Food of Drink (WPFCM) advises the Agency on the research needed to ensure that consumers are protected from chemical migration into food from packaging and other materials in contact with food.
The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) is an independent body which advises Ministers on all matters relating to the control of pesticides. Members provide scientific advice on the safe and effective use of pesticides and other pest control methods.
The Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC) is an independent body that was established in 2000. The Committee advises Ministers and the Chief Executives of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) on a nationwide programme of pesticide residue surveillance in food and drink.
The Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) was established in 1970 to advise on the safety, quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines, and to consider reports of suspected adverse reactions to veterinary medicines.
The Veterinary Residues Committee (VRC) was established in January 2001. Its main role is to advise the Chief Executives of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Food Standards Agency on the planning of the veterinary residues surveillance programmes, and the implications of the results for consumer safety.
The Additives and Authenticity Methodology Working Group evaluates research developed within the authenticity, additives, and the GM and novel foods research programmes. All programmes focus on the development of methods to enforce food legislation.