EFSA's Activities on Emerging Risks in 2016

First published in EFSA Supporting Publications
16 November 2017
9 November 2017
Technical Report

The main objectives of EFSA’s Activities on Emerging Risks are: (i) to carry out activities aimed at identifying emerging risks in the areas on the remit of EFSA (public health impacts related to food and feed, animal and plant health); and (ii) to develop and improve emerging risk identification methodologies and approaches. The current technical report summarises the activities of all groups involved in the emerging risks identification procedure, the issues identified in the course of 2016, a description of methodologies being developed and collaboration activities carried out. EFSA networks of knowledge include the Emerging Risk Exchange Network, the Stakeholders Discussion Group on Emerging Risks, EFSA scientific units, scientific panels and Scientific Committee and its working groups. International collaboration is established with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) and the participation in the International Liaison Groups on Chemical and Microbiological Food Safety. Summaries of Emerging Risk Identification Procedures in use by different stakeholders are presented. A screening method for the identification of chemicals of potential concern (REACH 1) and text mining tools for identification of emerging risks in plant health (MedISys – Plant Health) and in aquaculture food supply chains (ERIS) were finalised and a new project on the application of the procedure for chemicals screening initiated (REACH 2). A literature review on available data for cyanobacteria toxins in food was completed providing important recommendations for future research. A pilot project on the applicability of global food chain analysis for identification of vulnerabilities and drivers of change is ongoing (AQUARIUS) as well as two grant agreements with Member States on development of methodologies and collaboration tools for emerging risk identification (DEMETER) and data collection on ciguatera food poisoning in Europe (EuroCigua). A total of 17 potential emerging issues were discussed in 2016. New consumer trends were the predominant associated driver. Better understanding of the drivers to emerging risks including social, behavioural and economic aspects and good knowledge of food supply chains is extremely important for the emerging risk identification procedure and this work will continue in 2017.

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