Developing networking and stronger co-operation with the Member States and strengthening EFSA’s relationship with its institutional partners and stakeholders are among the key recommendations formulated by EFSA’s Management Board. In accordance with EFSA’s strategy for cooperation and networking with Member States, the Scientific Network on the Harmonisation of Risk Assessment Methodologies was launched in 2012.
The goals of the Network are: to improve dialogue among participants, to build mutual understanding of risk assessment principles, to enhance knowledge on and confidence in the scientific assessments carried out in EU, and to provide increased transparency in the current process among Member States and EFSA. In turn, it aims to raise the harmonisation level of the risk assessments developed in EU. The first meeting was held in June 2012. The Network was given an overview of the risk assessment approaches used by EFSA over the last 10 years. The development of tiered approaches adapting the level of data requirements to the information actually needed by the risk manager to come to a decision was underlined. A number of guidance documents setting new testing strategies, or improving hazard/risk characterisation, were presented together with the Scientific Committee guidance documents harmonising the use of selected default values, and clarifying the expression of uncertainties in dietary exposure assessments.
A presentation was given on new risk assessment methodologies and approaches within EFSA’s remit. Recent technologies such as toxicogenomics, bioinformatics, systems biology, epigenetic and computational toxicology were discussed as possible additional tools to help during the decision making process.
The Network discussed possible subjects for scientific cooperation and identified topics requiring harmonised approaches. Members and Observers of the Network agreed to have one meeting per year.