The 12th EFFA General Assembly was held in virtually on 2nd of October 2020.
The EFFA President, Mr Antoine Kastler, welcomed the attendees to the EFFA General Assembly, representing National Associations and Member Companies. This is a yearly opportunity for the EFFA Secretariat to update the EFFA membership on the activities undertaken during the year and give an outlook to next year's projects.
The EFFA General Assembly was held virtually for the first time ever because the circumstances required us to adapt. The EFFA President extended his thanks to all participants in these challenging circumstances: “It has been a challenging year for everyone, we are still in the middle of the COVID crisis, and there are many uncertainties. But I would like to highlight the resilience of this industry and the crucial role that it has played, and it is still playing during this crisis. Food heroes are some of the protagonists of the fight against the consequences of this virus.”
Also, EFFA reflected this resilience: together with its membership and, very importantly, thanks to its volunteers, EFFA has shown flexibility, agility, and its capacity to adapt and continue to deliver rapidly, Mr Kastler concluded.
The EFFA Executive Director, Mr Alexander Mohr, updated the Membership on the achievements of this year, a year with many challenges, Brexit negotiations, COVID-19 and much more. On the EFFA side, we continued to enlarge our network and developed different policy documents. We added a new team member in April, Ms Rebecca Hilltout Van Lerberghe, who is the new Office Manager and EFFA Assistant.
The EFFA Statutes were also updated to formally incorporate the Communications Committee & the Public Affairs Committee.
The EFFA team updated the members on our three pillars of work: regulatory, communications and public affairs:
Dr Jan Demyttenaere, EFFA's Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Director, updated the membership on the recent activities of the EFFA Core Group and Flavour Expert Committee (FLEX) related to scientific and regulatory developments.
The presentation included an overview of the New Organic Regulation and the EFFA Guidance Document on the new EU Organic Regulation in relation to flavourings with two additional Annexes (on GMOs and the non-concomitance rule). He also informed the membership of the various webinars EFFA organised on the Organic Regulation and that the application date of the Regulation has been delayed by one year until 1 January 2022.
An update was also provided on activities related to the enzyme dossiers, the smoke flavourings primary products, the latest status of the EFSA Evaluation programme (including an overview of recently published EFSA opinions) and the current composition of the EU Union List of Flavouring Substances (latest amendments & withdrawals).
Ms Jimena Gomez de la Flor, EFFA Communications Director, provided an update on EFFA communications, recalling the publication of the EFFA Brochure in June. She also presented the EFFA Union List Animation Video, which is an animation video explaining the EU Union List of Flavouring Substances.
She also summarised EFFA’s increased participation in conferences and trade summits and noted the continuity of the Flavour Ambassadors campaign. You can follow all the Flavour Ambassadors interviews on the EFFA website and Social Media. #FlavourAmbassador #FlavourPro
The General Assembly was also the opportunity for the EFFA membership to get an update on the Public Affairs activities. Ms Bo Dohmen, EFFA Public Affairs Officer, provided an overview of the recent policy developments on European level, focusing on the European ‘Green Deal’ and the associated Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. She also summarised the recent developments on Brexit and other trade-related matters.
In terms of Public Affairs activities, she introduced the recently published EFFA Policy Manifesto, which is the contribution of the European flavour industry on various EU policy dossiers, such as Farm to Fork. She also highlighted the publication of the EFFA Fact Sheet on the nutritional value of flavourings, which feeds into an ongoing policy discussion on the front-of-pack nutrition labelling on European level. The EFFA Public Affairs Committee (PAC) also enlarged its network with various EU policy makers and other stakeholders.
Mr Sven Ballschmiede, Executive Director of IOFI (International Organization of the Flavor Industry), gave a presentation about IOFI's work this year, highlighting the 5th revision of the Code of Practice and on the finalisation of the IFRA-IOFI Sustainability Charter.
Jean Mane, EFFA Board Liaison for IOFI and IOFI President, gave some concluding remarks thanking the participation of EFFA in the IOFI Committees as his term as President comes to an end this year.
Special Guest Speaker:
EU Trade model in relation to the European Food and Drink Sector
Following different developments in the area of EU trade, EFFA invited Mr Flavio Coturni to discuss 'The EU Trade model in relation to the European Food and Drink sector.' Mr Flavio Coturni is Head of the Unit "Agriculture, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Market Access, Biotechnology” in the Directorate General for Trade (DG Trade) in the European Commission.
Mr Coturni walked the EFFA Membership through a description of the current situation on trade for agriculture, food and phytosanitary products, focusing in particular on how COVID has changed the rules of the game and the future plans regarding a trade agreement with the UK and how it will impact (small) business, in particular in the food and ingredients sector. In his presentation to the EFFA membership, Mr Coturni also included some insights on how the current COVID-19 crisis and Brexit have an impact on future trade matters.