Annual meeting with representatives of the National Network of Institutions within food safety, Article 36 institutions, and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Network representatives took place on 7th December 2021. The second year in a row, it was held virtually due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation.
The meeting was organized by the Centre for Food Safety of the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food (HAPIH), which is the national EFSA Focal Point. The meeting traditionally brought together representatives of national scientific institutes, faculties, public health institutes, authorized laboratories and other relevant stakeholders in the food safety system. It was moderated by the national EFSA Focal Point representatives and supported by EFSA.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Executive Director of HAPIH and a member of the EFSA Advisory Forum, Dr Darja Sokolić, greeted the participants. “Although we are communicating via email throughout the year, to further intensify and improve existing cooperation we want to gather and hear from all of you,” said Dr Sokolić.
Colleagues from EFSA talked about different cooperation opportunities EFSA provides to the national institutions. Sergio Potier Rodeia from EFSA’s Engagement & Cooperation Unit gave a presentation on the new Regulation on Transparency and Sustainability of EU Risk Assessment in the Food Chain, followed by a lecture on various funding and cooperation opportunities with EFSA. Cristina Alonso Andicoberry, from the same EFSA organizational unit, presented the latest developments in the EU-FORA training program, which aims to encourage exchange of knowledge and practical experiences in the risk assessment as well as enhance cooperation between EFSA and European institutions in the food safety system.
In establishing cooperation, the National EFSA Contact Point plays an important role as the main facilitator in the exchange of information between EFSA and national food safety institutions. At the meeting was emphasized the importance of cooperation as well as numerous opportunities for financial support, project opportunities and other types of engagement at the level of the European Union. Two EFSA campaigns, African swine fever and EU Choose safe food, that were carried out in 2021 were also mentioned. The presentations were followed by discussions which enabled the participants of the meeting to receive additional information.
National EFSA Focal Point Representative, Dr Jasenka Petrić, closed the meeting, emphasizing the importance of further cooperation and expressing the desire to hold the next meeting face-to-face so that stakeholders in the national food safety system can more easily get to know each other, share knowledge, experiences and examples of good practice.
Photo source: freepik