Open risk assessment: methods and expertise
Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: EFSA's 2nd Scientific Conference Shaping the Future of Food Safety, Together
Risk analysis and risk governance face a decline in social trust at both the scientific and policy levels. The involvement of society in the process has been proposed as an approach to increasing trust and engagement by making better use of available data and knowledge. In this session, EFSA explored the challenges in building trust and engagement and the latest thinking and methodologies for increasing openness that can help the organisation to move beyond traditional dialogue and towards a more sustainable stakeholder and society interaction. The discussion centred on the needs of EFSA and of target audiences throughout the process, from risk assessment initiation through societal decision-making and communication. The main focus of the session was on methodologies and approaches that would enable EFSA to increase its scientific rigour and build trust from additional inputs gained by opening up its risk assessments at the level of data gathering, data analysis, expertise and innovation. This will require an approach that moves beyond traditional risk assessment practices that rely on a long chain of static information and knowledge such as scientific articles, reviews, expert groups and committees.