The principles of transparency are two-fold: public consultation and public information.
2 Public Consultation
Open and transparent public consultation, except in cases of urgency, is required directly or through representative bodies, during the preparation, evaluation and revision of food law.1
The Advisory Group on the Food Chain and Animal and Plant Health2 is the principal, but not the only, vehicle for consultation. The Commission consults the Advisory Group in the following fields:
Food and feed safety.
Food and feed labelling and presentation.
Human nutrition, in relation to food legislation.
Animal health and welfare.
Matters relating to crop protection, plant protection products and residues thereof, and conditions for the marketing of seed and propagation material, including biodiversity, and including matters pertaining to industrial property.
The Group comprises no more than 45 representatives of representative European bodies selected by the Commission with an interest in the protection of interests in the above fields.3
In April 2011 the Commission extended the membership of the Group from 36 to 45 to include certain unrepresented sectors, this included Slow Food International, Friends of the Earth Europe and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe.4
3 Public Information
Where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a food or feed may present a risk for human or animal health, then, depending on the nature, seriousness and extent of that risk, public authorities shall, without prejudice to EU and national law on access to documents, take appropriate steps to inform the general public of the nature of the risk to health, identifying to the fullest extent possible the food or feed, or type of food or feed, the risk that it may present, and the measures which are taken or about to be taken to prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk.5
3 Ibid., Article 3