Opening EFSA's "treasure trove" of food safety data

Public access to data collected and held by EFSA for its work is becoming a reality with the launch of EFSA’s scientific "data warehouse".

EFSA aims to make available, over the coming years, as much as possible of the data collected by EFSA, its network in EU Member States and submitted by other data providers. Publication of the data warehouse’s access rules – which have been agreed with the data providers – is an important milestone in EFSA’s transformation to an open science organisation and particularly in its drive for increased accessibility to the data it holds.

To support its scientific work over the past decade, EFSA has collected and used a large body of information on zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, foodborne outbreaks, pesticide residues, chemical contaminants, food consumption and chemical hazards. Through the data warehouse, much of this data will be accessible through specific web reporting tools such as tables, reports, graphs, maps and dashboards.

EFSA’s Executive Director Bernhard Url said: “Our scientific data warehouse project, which we will develop over the next three to four years, will open as much as possible our treasure trove of data to be used and re-used for other purposes by other people in Europe. This will contribute to scientific progress.”

Gradually, over the course of 2015, different stakeholders (for example, data providers, EFSA scientific staff and experts, risk managers, the general public) will be granted access. 

The access rules will apply at least for the duration of the data warehouse project from 2015 to 2016, after which the rules may be revised if necessary.