Annual report on the Emerging Risks Exchange Network 2011

Numero domanda: EFSA-Q-2011-00399
Issued: 3 maggio 2012
Relazione (0.2 Mb)

Abstract

This report presents the activities of the EFSA’s Emerging Risks Exchange Network together with a description of the Member States national activities on emerging risks detection. The Network met three times during 2011. The activities of the Network were focused on scientific and generic issues of importance for the exchange of relevant information for the detection of medium- and long-term emerging risks.


Sintesi

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) wishes to be fully prepared to detect, in a systematic and efficient way, medium- and long-term emerging risks of relevance for the European food and feed chain. To achieve this purpose, EFSA has promoted the networking of Member States and the European Commission active in the field of emerging risks identification.

In 2010 an internal mandate was issued by EFSA for establishing an Emerging Risks Exchange Network (EREN) to exchange information between EFSA and the MSs on possible emerging risks for food and feed safety. The Network is currently composed of delegates from 20 Member States (MSs) designated through the Advisory Forum (AF).

The main objectives of the network are: (i) to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise in the field of Emerging Risks in the fields of food, feed and plant health; (ii) to promote the coordination of activities and the development and implementation of joint research projects, and (iii) to build support and commitment of MSs to the emerging risks identification activities of EFSA.

In accordance with EFSA’s commitment to transparency and openness, each year EFSA publishes a yearly report on the activities of the EREN. In 2011, 29 emerging issues presented by MSs and EFSA were analysed. By category, the most frequently evaluated issues were chemical contaminants, followed by microbiological hazards. Other issues analysed included those detected by individual MSs, such as new consumer trends, labelling issues, allergens, antimicrobial resistance, new industrial processes and increased trends of presence of foreign bodies.

The Network stressed the need for sharing information with other agencies in order to develop integrated and holistic risk assessment in cross-cutting issues, and also suggested further monitoring and gathering data on a number of issues.

In 2011 a number of Member states, presented a summary of their respective activities and achievements on the detection of emerging risks. This report includes an annex summarising the information on the activities developed by reporting Member States in the area of emerging risks identification in the food/feed chain.

In most cases, these activities follow a hazard-based non-structured approach and only a limited number of countries have developed an organisation structure to develop foresight horizon scanning programs to identify future risks and opportunities for food and feed safety.

Almost all Member States’ reported activities are predominantly based on a combination of two methodologies: qualitative methods, based on expert elicitation and stakeholder’s involvement, and quantitative trend analysis, based on statistical appraisal of surveillance and/or monitoring data. The main common actors are experts from different fields, and ministries with responsibility for public health and agriculture.

The network discussed a total of 29 signals of potential emerging risks. These were most frequently chemical hazards. Other issues discussed included microbiological hazards, consumer trends, labelling issues and allergens. Particular attention was paid to issues raised by EFSA’s Advisory Forum, relating to trends in consumption of energy drinks, pine nut consumption linked to taste disturbances and serious allergic reactions to a product containing acid-hydrolysed wheat protein.

The networking of organisations of Member States and the EC active in the field of emerging risks identification has been shown to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise. The coordination of these activities and their development builds support and commitment of Member States to the emerging risks identification activities of EFSA and strengthens the activities in the MS. In 2012 it is anticipated that the network will play an active role in the identification of new emerging risks and provide significant contributions to the understanding of these newly identified issues.

The EREN annual report is prepared on a voluntary basis and reflects the EFSA and MSs’ commitment to transparency and accountability.

Almost all Member States’ reported activities are predominantly based on a combination of two methodologies: qualitative methods, based on expert elicitation and stakeholder’s involvement, and quantitative trend analysis, based on statistical appraisal of surveillance and/or monitoring data. The main common actors are experts from different fields, and ministries with responsibility for public health and agriculture.

The network discussed a total of 29 signals of potential emerging risks. These were most frequently chemical hazards. Other issues discussed included microbiological hazards, consumer trends, labelling issues and allergens. Particular attention was paid to issues raised by EFSA’s Advisory Forum, relating to trends in consumption of energy drinks, pine nut consumption linked to taste disturbances and serious allergic reactions to a product containing acid-hydrolysed wheat protein.

The networking of organisations of Member States and the EC active in the field of emerging risks identification has been shown to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise. The coordination of these activities and their development builds support and commitment of Member States to the emerging risks identification activities of EFSA and strengthens the activities in the MS. In 2012 it is anticipated that the network will play an active role in the identification of new emerging risks and provide significant contributions to the understanding of these newly identified issues.

The EREN annual report is prepared on a voluntary basis and reflects the EFSA and MSs’ commitment to transparency and accountability.


Pubblicato: 14 maggio 2012