Risk assessment methodologies in the field of contaminants, food contact materials, technological ingredients and nutritional risks
The programme aimed at training the fellow in the risk assessment guidelines proposed by the EFSA in the field of contaminants, food contact materials, technological ingredients and nutritional risks. It had a modular ‘learning by doing’ approach and a balanced learning/case studies and theory. Module 1 offered an insight into chemical risk assessment and conferred transferable skills for a proper application of the framework. The hands‐on activities consisted of three case studies that went from a simple exercise on an official opinion, to working in a team with experts to produce a new opinion, to an individual work to obtain a publishable review manuscript. Module 2 was a training in experimental toxicology designed to create a toxicological basis and to enable the fellow to perform toxicological studies for risk assessment purposes. She joined the team working on cyanotoxins, gained experience with both EFSA and Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines on genotoxicity and an insight into the developing of analytical methods suitable for risk assessment purposes. During module 3, the fellow was trained in nutritional risk assessment and involved in experimental work in chemical characterisation, biomarkers and mechanisms of action of bioactive compounds. This developed the critical perspective when assessing nutritional and health claims related the design of experiments, methods used, interpretation of results and human relevance. Module 4 provided a ‘hand‐on experience’ in scientific risk communication as the fellow was encouraged and supported in the participation at local, national and international workshops and congresses presenting the outcomes of the three modules. Thus, the fellow was successfully integrated in the day‐by‐day workflow of the department, gaining first‐hand practical experience in risk assessment in a multicultural and interdisciplinary context. This enabled a productive exchange of good practices and contributed to building a European risk assessment community.