A global food safety initiative launched by CIES has been welcomed by European commissioner David Byrne. The initiative, launched at the CIES annual conference in Dublin, aims to create a set of voluntary food safety standards for products sourced by retailers around the globe (The Grocer, June 3, p5). Addressing over 650 retailer and supplier CEOs at the conference, Byrne said: "This is a valuable initiative, I am impressed by it and l look forward to working with the industry on it." On the wider issue of the creation of a European Food Authority, Byrne said he was "considering the possibility of laying down networking provisions in the enabling legislation". He said the EFA's aim was to draw on the expertise and knowledge available in member states and become the centre of a network linking the best available science across the EU. Referring to France's refusal to lift the ban on the import of UK beef, he said that once this system had been established "it should be more difficult for member states to enforce standalone decisions contrary to the recommendations of a European Food Authority". - Feargal Quinn, chief executive of Irish chain Superquinn, has handed over chairmanship of CIES to Roland Fahlin, chairman and CEO of Swedish grocery retail group ICA. {{NEWS }}