Joint EFSA and ECDC 2018 workshop on preparedness for a multi‐national food safety/public health incident
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Abstract In May 2018, EFSA and ECDC co‐facilitated a workshop on preparedness for a multi‐national food safety/public health incident. The workshop, hosted at AGES in Vienna, was conceived to closely align with EFSA's Strategy 2020 commitment to prepare for future risk assessment challenges. EFSA, ECDC, AGES and BfR worked together closely to develop a workshop and associated training materials to be delivered over a 2.5‐day agenda. The workshop was attended by 51 representatives spanning public health, food safety and communications disciplines from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, DG‐SANTE, EFSA, ECDC, and BfR. The first day of the workshop provided seven expertise‐sharing presentations on various topics. The second day comprised a desktop simulation exercise on a multi‐national food safety public health scenario, focusing on a fictional outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes. The third day combined feedback on the simulation exercise and discussions on the creation of a potential guidance document to inform the response of European Union Member States, EFS health incidents. The following overall objectives were addressed: i) facilitate networking of food safety and public health colleagues to further enhance collaboration across the European Union and European Economic Area and within Member States; ii) identify gaps in emergency risk communications and responding to multi‐country events, under controlled conditions; iii) further enhance understanding and utilisation of relevant information‐gathering and analysis tools. These objectives were achieved, on the basis of recorded outcomes and evaluation feedback from participants. Additionally, discussions during the workshop generated three practical recommendations for enhancing effective, multidisciplinary collaboration during times of urgent response and multinational outbreaks.