Emerging risks identification on food and feed – EFSA

emerging risks, food systems, horizon scanning, big data, drivers of change, prioritisation, risk communication
First published in the EFSA Journal
26 July 2018
Approved
26 June 2018
Type
Scientific Report of EFSA

Abstract

The European Food Safety Authority's has established procedures for the identification of emerging risk in food and feed. The main objectives are to: (i) to carry out activities aiming at identifying, assessing and disseminating information on emerging issues and ensure coordination with relevant networks and international organisations; (ii) promote the identification of data sources and data collection and /or data generation in prioritised emerging issues; and the (iii) evaluate of the collected information and identify of emerging risks. The objective(s) of the Standing Working Group on Emerging Risks (SWG‐ER) is to collaborate with EFSA on the emerging risks identification (ERI) procedure and provide strategic direction for EFSA work building on past and ongoing projects related to EFSA ERI procedure. The SWG‐ER considered the ERI methodologies in place and results obtained by EFSA. It was concluded that a systematic approach to the identification of emerging issues based on experts’ networks is the major strength of the procedure but at present, it is mainly focused on single issues, over short to medium time horizons, no consistent weighting or ranking is applied and clear governance of emerging risks with follow‐up actions is missing. The analysis highlighted weaknesses with respect to data collection, analysis and integration. No methodology is in place to estimate the value of the procedure outputs in terms of avoided risk and there is urgent need for a communication strategy that addresses the lack of data and knowledge uncertainty and addresses risk perception issues. Recommendations were given in three areas: (i) Further develop a food system‐based approach including the integration of social sciences to improve understanding of interactions and dynamics between actors and drivers and the development of horizon scanning protocols; (ii) Improve data processing pipelines to prepare big data analytics, implement a data validation system and develop data sharing agreements to explore mutual benefits; and (iii) Revise the EFSA procedure for emerging risk identification to increase transparency and improve communication.

European Food Safety Authority
Contact
sc.secretariat [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5359
EFSA Journal 2018;16(7):5359
Question Number
On request from
EFSA