The EU evidence-based food safety framework is based on the General Food Law, which, among others, introduced the risk analysis principle to underpin food safety policy making and established the European Food Safety Authority. Recent consumer concerns on the transparency of the process of safety assessment of our foods as well as technological developments and innovations have shown that there is a need to reflect on the EU food safety system of the future. The challenge requires fostering coordination and integration among different food safety stakeholders in order to ensure that the science and infrastructures needed to support evidence-based policies of the future will be timely available.
Proposals shall aim at developing a research and innovation platform for collaboration and coordination across food safety stakeholders in Europe. Actions shall engage key stakeholders such as National Food Safety Authorities, relevant EU Agencies, Commission Services, policy makers, scientists and civil society with the objectives to: i) map the state of play in food safety research and innovation in the different Member States and Associated Countries; ii) strengthen research and innovation capacity to ensure that Europe continues to be the global leader on food safety standards; iii) exchange of knowledge and data across the scientific community and policy actors including relevant EU Agencies; iv) improve coherence and reduce the overlap between national and EU funding in Food safety research. v) develop innovative approaches to communicate both on food safety research and innovation as well as on risk assessment procedures in the area of food safety in a manner that citizens are properly informed and engaged in taking into account gender aspects, thus contributing to boosting consumers' confidence on the evidence-base for food safety systems and vi) explore avenues for long-term science- policy-society interfaces.
In agreement with the Commission services, proposals should ensure appropriate flexibility so as to respond in real time to potentially fast-changing policy scenarios.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
In line with principles, requirements and procedures of the General Food Law, in the short/medium term proposals will:
- Deliver a platform for European cooperation at multi-partner level on food safety that builds on research and innovation (R&I) and policy coherence, exploits synergies and capabilities between countries and regions and enhances public confidence.
- Develop innovative models for collaborations and knowledge exchange across food safety actors and develop networks to promote coherence and harmonisation across the food safety stakeholders throughout the Member States.
- Identify integrated and reliable resources (e.g. data repositories, accredited laboratories, individual roadmaps, inventories) accessible for the food safety stakeholders.
- Deliver the basis for the development of joint trans-national research programmes and alignment of national research agendas.
- Develop a coherent Food Safety Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) which shall also address consumers' expectations, emerging technologies and policy priorities.
- Deliver models to inform civil society of the science-based risk assessment process providing clear guidance on dissemination models.
- Deliver logistic and technical support for permanent structure in the future ensuring that research and innovation will support food safety policies.