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 Thursday, December 1, 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 fourth 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 ministries and institutes to academia and other stakeholders.

EFSA is the reference body of the European Union for impartial scientific risk assessment related to food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection. This meeting is the result, among other things, of the successful long-term cooperation between HAPIH and EFSA. Thus, at the beginning of the meeting, the participants were greeted by Andrea Gross-Bošković, expert advisor at HAPIH and national representative in the EFSA Advisory Forum. Later, during her lecture, Andrea encouraged participants to join the establishment of a national platform for emerging risks.

The participants were informed about the latest EFSA activities and initiatives, firstly, by the national EFSA Focal Points, and later, by direct broadcast from Parma, by experts from EFSA themselves.

Dr Gorgias Garofalakis from EFSA’s Knowledge, Innovation and Partnership Management Unit (KNOW Unit) presented the possibilities of cooperation with EFSA, particularly referring to EFSA’s work plan for 2023. Dr Cristina Alonso Andicoberry from the Engagement and External Relations Unit (ENREL Unit) followed up on that topic. She presented The European Food Risk Assessment Fellowship Programme (EU FORA). Applications for the new generation of candidates are open until March 2023, and only institutions from the Article 36 List can apply. As a final presentation, Elina Ciekure from the ENREL Unit gave a brief overview of the data collection system related to food safety in the EU.

The meeting of key actors for food safety laid the foundation for a more successful and efficient continuation of cooperation to protect the health of consumers as well as all stakeholders of food systems, from farm to fork.

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