Annual meeting of stakeholders in the national food safety system

Representatives from the National Network of Institutions within food safety, Article 36 institutions, and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Network representatives gathered on Monday, December 11, at the Croatian Journalist’s Home in Zagreb, to exchange updates, agree on potential future cooperation and find out what are the latest possibilities offered by EFSA.

For the fifth year in a row, the organizer of this meeting is the Croatian EFSA Focal Point from the Food Safety Centre of the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food (HAPIH). The Focal Point represents a unique link between EFSA and national institutions in the food safety system, from competent institutions and academia to institutes and other stakeholders.

This meeting is one of the results, of the successful long-term cooperation between HAPIH and EFSA, which was highlighted in the opening speech by Sara Mikrut Vunjak, assistant director of HAPIH and national representative in EFSA Communications Experts Network.

The Croatian representative of the EFSA Focal Point Network Vlatka Buzjak Služek and Jasenka Petrić, PhD, presented news from EFSA and the Focal Point Network, and the representative of EFSA Advisory Forum Andrea Gross-Bošković introduced participants to the development of the concept for the European Excellence Label (EEL), which will represent a quality mark for courses and study programs in the field of risk assessment.

Experts from EFSA, Arthur Healy from the Department of Communication, and Gorgias Garofalakis, PhD, from the Department of Knowledge, Innovation and Partnership management Unit joined the meeting online. Arthur Healy presented Food Risk Assess Europe (FRAE), a new platform with open access to scientific articles in the field of food safety from national food safety agencies across the EU, and Gorgias Garofalakis presented the partnership opportunities with EFSA, with an emphasis on the partnership areas in the EFSA work plan 2024/25.

Representatives of HAPIH Center for Plant Protection and national representatives in EFSA Scientific Network for Plant Health Risk Assessment and Scientific Network for Plant Pest Control shared their successful experience of applying to EFSA Grant to encourage and motivate colleagues from other institutions to apply for EFSA tenders and also institutions to apply to EFSA Article 36 List.

The meeting of key stakeholders in the safety system laid the foundation for the exchange of knowledge, experience and examples of good practice, to better respond to daily challenges in the dynamic field of food safety and consumer protection.

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