EFSA's activities on emerging risks in 2019
The main objectives of EFSA's activities on emerging risks are: (i) to carry out activities to identify emerging risks; and (ii) to develop and improve emerging risk identification (ERI) methodologies and approaches and iii) communicate on identified issues and risks. The outcome of these activities also allows EFSA to prepare for future risk assessment challenges.The current technical report summarises the activities of all groups involved in the emerging risk identification procedure, the issues identified in the course of 2019, a description of methodologies being developed and collaborative activities.EFSA networks of knowledge contributing to the emerging risks identification activity include the Emerging Risks Exchange Network, the StakeholderDiscussion Group on Emerging Risks, EFSA's scientific units, scientific panels and the Scientific Committee and its working groups. In total, 17 potential emerging issues were discussed in 2019. Thirteen were concluded to be emerging issues. The potential issues were classified according to the hazard and/or driver identified. A change in consumer behaviour trends as a driver for emerging issues in food safety was identified for more than half of the issues discussed in 2019. A better understanding of these trends is particularly relevant for EFSA to improve preparedness. In addition, in 2019 EREN network members presented and discussed a total of 28 signals/ potential emerging issues identified by their own horizon scanning activities. Different Member states representatives shared their work on signals identification with the objective to collect additional information that can be used for better characterization. More effective methods to collect and share knowledge need to be implemented. Collaboration was a main feature of the 2019 ERI activities. The number of observers increased, a common session between EREN and StaDGER was organized for the first time and collaboration between institutions is a common feature to all methodological development projects.Such collaboration activities require the development of effective digital collaboration tools and a flexible knowledge management system. Communication is a fundamental part of the ERI procedure, in a more “open knowledge sharing” context it is of increased importance to clearly communicate on the uncertainty associated with the ERI procedure.
This publication is linked to the following EFSA Journal article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6243/full