EFSA was established to assess and communicate on risks associated with the food chain, thereby contributing to ensure food safety for Europe’s 500 million consumers. Cooperation with partners in Member States and internationally has been important since EFSA’s inception, and EFSA’s Management Board identified as one of EFSA’s priority areas, to further enhance the EU risk assessment capacity. This ‘Roadmap is developed to indicate ways and specific actions to address the recommendations of the Management Board and EFSA’s strategic objectives, with the vision to move beyond the operation of specific cooperation tools towards building a common risk assessment agenda, where priorities are defined on which Member States and EFSA can partner.
Outsourcing will be a key feature and additional financial instruments are identified, such as framework partnership agreements and thematic grants. Cooperation and mentoring directly among MS organisations could be supported by EFSA through twinning projects to exchange knowledge and expertise and strengthen Europe’s capacity in food safety risk assessment. The main aim of proposed new grants is to increase the opportunity to work together among Member States, and between EFSA and MS in the form of ‘Joint Projects’, as mentioned in Article 36 of EFSA’s Founding Regulation.
The awareness and sharing of work programmes may help to avoid duplication of work, create opportunities for scientific cooperation and help to avoid diverging opinions. It is recognised that not all MS have established work plans or programmes specifically for food safety risk assessment, hence additional avenues are needed. In relation to diverging scientific opinions, it is proposed that EFSA will extend public consultations to 8 weeks whenever possible, and recommend that MS should also organise public consultations.