COVID-19 & the authorities – how does it effect the work?

Posted 24 March, 2020

Without doubt, COVID-19 has thrown the world into chaos, and over the past few weeks we have seen unprecedented measures implemented by governments worldwide in an attempt to prevent the exponential spread of the virus and “flatten the curve”.

For those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home, it is business as usual for the time being, but what does it mean for your feed or food product evaluations and what is the situation with regards to administrative procedures and deadlines within the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission (EC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA?

Pen & Tec has checked the situation with the authorities and in summary:

EC – working from home

The latest updates – The EC is trying to organise the next SCoPAFF meeting in April via videoconference at least for the Qualitative Majority Voting (QMV) for authorisations, but many EU member State delegates are also working from home and live in remote places with poor internet connection. If a web conference is not possible then the June 2020 SCOPAFF will have to use written procedures for QMVs.

As well, some EC members have limited access to their online system which may cause delays to applicants intending to verify the status of their application. 

EFSA – working from home

All EFSA staff have been working from home for almost one month. Members of the EFSA scientific panels are working remotely and are continuing to work as normal. Many of the EFSA Working Group Plenary sessions will be held via videoconference to ensure that scientific opinions continue to be discussed and adopted.

FDA – working from home

The Center for Veterinary Medicine (including the Division of Animal Feeds) are all working from home, which  means that reviews should be continuing as usual.

For the past few years the Division has had the opportunity to receive submissions and other filings electronically.   However, the system is difficult to set up.  Filings include requests for meetings, Investigational Food Additive (IFA) establishment, IFA filings, GRAS notices, Food Additive Petitions, Food Additive Amendments, etc.

Pen & Tec is operating as usual. Therefore, all of our teams are up and running, following the same procedures that guarantee the quality of our service. In addition, all meetings will be held by videoconference during this exceptional period in order to comply with the recommendations of the healthcare authorities.

If you have any questions or if you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 of your feed or food application, please feel free to contact us – Pen & Tec is here to help.

Stay safe!