Stakeholders from the food industry, NGO sector and academia were present amongst others at the two-day event, opened by EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url.
During the event, EFSA aimed to gather feedback on its operation through presentations, interactive sessions and one-to-one discussions at poster exhibitions. Topics included the agency’s communication, as well as the application process for new regulated products, such as novel foods. Participants noted that different approaches should be taken depending on whether the messages are directed towards the general public or stakeholders. In addition, simplifying certain communications and the need for receiving regular updates on certain key topics were highlighted. EFSA also described its strategy for assessing the sensitivity of science-communication topics using qualitative social-science methods. Lastly, questions on the collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency, (ECHA) within the framework of “One substance, one assessment” – which supports the EU chemicals strategy for sustainability – were raised. In the meantime, EFSA was praised for its wholistic initiative on assessing future risks. The “foresight and preparedness” strategy, which will be introduced in 2024 involves interdisciplinary methods to monitor areas relevant to food safety, and future challenges.
EuChemS is a registered stakeholder of EFSA – therefore EuChems Science Communication and Policy officer Marton Kottmayer attended the event, and engaged with the science and risk communication representatives of EFSA.