EFSA to strengthen cooperation with its Stakeholder Platform

Members of the European Food Safety Authority’s Stakeholder Consultative Platform met on 13 and 14 April 2010 to discuss a number of scientific topics as well as the strengthening of EFSA’s relationship with the representatives of consumer, industry and environmental groups in order to boost cooperation.

EFSA launched two new projects at the meeting aimed at stimulating further stakeholder involvement in the Authority’s activities and at encouraging greater contribution to EFSA’s scientific work. One project, called the Rolling Work Plan, lists all EFSA activities and events organised for, and with, the Stakeholder Platform and other stakeholder organisations throughout the year. The members also agreed to establish a Working Group to look at ways to increase the engagement of stakeholder organisations and consumers in EFSA’s activities. The Working Group will come up with proposals to bring to the Platform plenary meeting in November.

At the meeting in Brussels, the stakeholders were also informed about plans to establish a pan-European food consumption survey, called the EU Menu. Co-ordinated by EFSA and in cooperation with Member States, the survey will allow the collection of detailed and harmonised food consumption data from individuals of all ages across the European Union essential for EFSA’s work.

Continuing EFSA’s dialogue with stakeholders on its work in nutrition, the head of EFSA’s Dietetic products, nutrition and allergies (NDA) unit, Juliane Kleiner, provided an overview of the Authority’s activities in nutrition, such as the setting of dietary reference values that can be used across the EU for establishing nutritional recommendations. She also explained EFSA’s work on food-based dietary guidelines, labelling reference intake values and the NDA Panel’s latest work on health claims evaluations.

EFSA Executive Director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle updated the Platform members on the priorities and challenges for 2010 and 2011. Stakeholders were presented with the results of target audience research in the EU and beyond, commissioned by EFSA, which triggered considerable interest and discussion. Findings indicated that EFSA has become a well-respected European body, producing independent, science-based support for its policy makers. The findings also showed that EFSA should provide more predictable timetables for its scientific work, improve the simplicity of its communications and continue to strengthen its Member State network. The research has also helped shape the review of EFSA’s communications strategy for 2010-2013. Presented to the Management Board last month, the draft communications strategy was also discussed with stakeholders before the document is published for public consultation.

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