EFSA's activities on emerging risks in 2018
The main objectives of EFSA's activities on emerging risks are:(i) to identify emerging risks in the areas within the remit of EFSA;and (ii) to develop and improve emerging risk identification methodologies and approaches. The current technical report summarises the activities of all groups involved in the emerging risk identification procedure, the issues identified in the course of 2018, a description of methodologies being developed and collaborative activities.
EFSA networks of knowledge contributing to the emerging risks identification activity include the Emerging Risks Exchange Network, the StakeholderDiscussion Group on Emerging Risks, EFSA's scientific units, scientific panels and the Scientific Committee and its working groups. Summaries of emerging risk identification procedures in use by different stakeholders are presented.In total, 18 potential emerging issues were discussed in 2018. The issues were classified according to hazard [microbiological hazard (10), chemical hazard (2), other (e.g. antimicrobial resistance and allergies) (1)] and/or the driver underlying the emerging issues identified [illegal activity (2), new consumer trends (2), climate changerelated (1) and new process or technology (3)].
The Standing Working Group Emerging Risks revised the Emerging Risks identification process to better describe the role of EFSA networks of knowledge in identifying potential issues, the drafting and reviewing briefing notes by consultation with different stakeholders and the characterisation of issues by the already established criteria (novelty, soundness severity imminence and scale), but also byproviding clear recommendations to other stakeholders.
Communication is a fundamental part of the emerging risk identification procedure. The results of the EU insights study did not indicate that emerging risks triggered significantly greater levels of concern to the public than established risks and suggested that by communicating information about the nature of the risk and the level of uncertainty that surrounds it, a proportionate perception of risk is achieved. Food fraud was of greater concern to consumers than other types of emerging risks. Food fraud can be an important driver for food safety emerging risks and it is important to better integrate risk assessment work on food safety into food fraud investigations.
The review of the emerging risk identification (ERI) procedure conducted by the SWG‐ER provided conclusions and recommendations that will guide the future developments of the procedure in alignment with EFSA strategic objectives