EFSA visits Italian partners, discusses mycotoxins and climate change

EFSA’s Executive Director Bernhard Url met the Italian Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, last week to discuss ongoing and future cooperation on food safety science issues between EFSA, the Italian authorities and Italian universities and research centres.

An EFSA delegation capped a two-day visit to Rome, Italy, by participating in an international conference on “The burden of mycotoxins on animal and human health” organised by the Ministry of Health, the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) and EFSA. Other speakers included representatives from the European Commission and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The conference looked at scientific issues related to mycotoxins and the food chain, including the impact of climate change. The afternoon session explored use of biomonitoring – results from human blood and urine tests – in assessing mycotoxin risks to humans.

Mycotoxins are chemicals – some of which are highly poisonous – produced by moulds. They can enter the food and feed chain through contaminated crops such as cereals and nuts.

New EFSA video on Mycotoxins and Climate Change

EFSA also premiered a new video on “Mycotoxins and Climate Change”, highlighting how changes in temperature, humidity, rainfall and carbon dioxide production impact on fungal behaviour and consequently on mycotoxin production.

EFSA and EU Member States are working together on mycotoxin data collection, scientific research and assessment to help reduce human/animal exposure to risks posed by these toxins.

The data, scientific models and knowledge they generate can be used to meet future risk assessment challenges on mycotoxins in Europe but also globally.

High-level talks on scientific cooperation issues

EFSA met with the heads of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the ISS. Issues on the table included the EU Risk Assessment Agenda and risk communication, antimicrobial resistance, African swine fever and Xylella fastidiosa. The EFSA delegation also met with Italian competent organisations, acknowledging their significant contribution to EFSA’s scientific work.

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