The paper provides a summary of the report written for the European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Programme, as a response to the Commission's 2000 Food Safety White Paper. The White Paper made a series of major proposals, including a plan to set up a new European Food Authority (EFA). This paper summarises the comments and proposals on the background and technical arguments in the White Paper. The key issues in food-related public health, which the EFA will have to address, are reviewed. The role of science and technological information in policy-making on food and health matters is explored, as is the core challenge of how to link nutrition and food safety to give a consumer-friendly public health policy for Europe.