83rd EFSA Advisory Forum Meeting had taken place

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Advisory Forum brings together representatives of the national institutions in the EU, Iceland and Norway involved in the food safety system. Director of the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food (HAPIH) Darja Sokolić, PhD, participated as a Croatian national member of the EFSA Advisory Forum at the 83rd meeting held on 6 and 7 April.

At the meeting that took place in Paris at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), members discussed current issues related to risk assessment and risk communication as well as projects aimed at improving the European food safety system.

It was announced that EFSA’s successful campaigns “EU choose safe food” and “Stop African swine fever” will continue in 2022. This year, EFSA is also celebrating its 20th anniversary. On this occasion, EFSA is organising ONE Conference 2022 that will take place from 21 to 24 June in Bruxelles (and online), where the Director Sokolić is a member of the Scientific Committee. The conference focuses on the implementation of the One Health – One Environment approach. 

A large part of the meeting was dedicated to the discussions related to the health of bees and other pollinators, and activities within the European joint program One Health. Three Member States presented examples of good practices in the field of food safety risk assessment. A representative from France spoke about the contribution of a national phyto-pharmacovigilance scheme to risk governance, Norway presented the risk assessment results of dioxins and dioxin‐like PCBs in food, and Cyprus talked about the upgrade of the dietary exposure assessment model “ImproRisk”.

One year passed since the Regulation (EU) 2019/1381 on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain was put into effect. The Regulation provides additional funding to increase the transparency of risk assessment, objectivity and independence of scientific studies and strengthen EFSA’s governing body. As a result, the structure of EFSA has changed during the past year. Since the Regulation aims to enable greater involvement of national representatives, the Management Board will further expand with members from the individual Member States.

To facilitate the implementation of the Regulation by the Member States, a series of webinars, technical meetings and written consultations were organised. Director Sokolić also pointed out that “additional efforts are being made to achieve coordinated communication and greater availability of food safety information.”

Director Sokolić with EFSA’s Executive Director Bernhard Url, PhD

Within the Advisory Forum, three separate working groups presented the results of their activities: Advisory Group on Data, Advisory Forum Discussion Groups on the Future of Partnerships, and Advisory Forum Steering Group on the New Focal Point Operational Framework.

Three more EFSA Advisory Forum meetings are expected to take place in 2022. During these meetings, Advisory Forum Members will continue to advise EFSA on scientific issues, work program, early identification of potential or emerging risks, and greater consistency in risk communications.

Source of the cover photo: freepik/rawpixel.com

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