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EFSA's activities on emerging risks in 2015



Eighteen potential emerging issues were presented for the first time in 2015 by the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) Scientific Committee and Emerging Risks Unit, the Emerging Risks Exchange Network, and/or the Stakeholder Consultative Group on Emerging Risks. The Standing Working Group on Emerging Risks finalised an appraisal of the procedure for emerging risks identification trialled by EFSA and gave recommendations for future developments. A review of the state of the art of human bio-monitoring, the Member States Network and the stakeholders’ discussion group on emerging risks annual reports was published. Several procurements on the development of methodologies for emerging risks identification are on-going: (i) a screening method for the identification of chemicals of potential concern; (ii) a text mining tool; and (iii) a pilot project on the applicability of global food chain analysis for identification of vulnerabilities and drivers of change. Bee mortality and the health risks of exposure to chemical mixtures were issues that were identified in previous years and EFSA has several projects for the development of methods and the collection of data for its assessment. A session on ‘Drivers for emerging issues in animal and plant health’ was organised during EFSA's 2nd Scientific Conference. It was concluded that the emerging risks identification procedure in place is applicable in practice and compatible with EFSA’s resources. Data on emerging issues must be made easily available for all stakeholders to improve the transparency of the procedure, reduce duplication and improve collaboration. The involvement of all EFSA Panels and the Scientific Committee on emerging risks identification should also be improved further. A revised prioritization process and a close interaction, especially between EFSA and the risk managers, is necessary.