Report on Stakeholders’ activities in the area of emerging risks
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established the Stakeholder Consultative Group on Emerging Risks (StaCG-ER) in order to improve the exchange of ideas and methods on the identification of emerging risks, but also for openness and transparency, information and data sharing, communication and dialogue on issues pertaining to emerging risks. The identification of emerging risks is an essential part of the daily activities in food and feed sector organisations and is undertaken through regular monitoring of various data sources combined with information received through organisations’ networks. A common approach among stakeholders is the use of expert groups to discuss the relevance and importance of signals of potential emerging risks. There is an emphasis on the need for a multidisciplinary approach to be reflected in the choice of members of such groups. Whilst data sources vary according to the scope of each organisation and therefore are sector specific, the general approaches used are highlighted. Potential drivers of emerging risks are discussed, which may, individually and/or in combination, affect the way that potential risks develop in the food and feed chain. In order to strengthen the capability to identify emerging risks of public health importance, a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach is essential for both vision and interpretation, as is a means for sharing information and accumulated knowledge. Therefore, the development of a common language with shared definitions, terminology, and methodology is necessary. A system needs to be developed or deployed to assist in the interpretation and impact assessment of newly reported issues and signals of change which may have an impact on public health through exposure through food.