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Mapping the coordination and cooperation mechanisms of risk communication on feed/food safety in the EU

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The mapping of the EU coordination and cooperation mechanisms of risk communication in the field of food safety (i.e. encompassing all matters pertaining to the feed and food chain) was conducted for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), following a mandate by the European Commission, to inform the General Plan for Risk Communication that the Commission will set out. This study focuses on communication activities in ‘peacetime’ situations (i.e. non‐crisis) on the published outputs of risk assessment and risk management. This is a specific part of the risk communication process defined in the General Food Law. Data were collected through an online survey of competent authority organisations involved in risk communication at national and regional levels in the EU‐27 Member States and Norway; and interviews with selected organisations at Member State, EU and international levels. Based on these data, this report provides an overview of the current information flow of risk communication, in terms of whether and how organisations at all levels receive, produce, and disseminate risk communication material. The existing flows in each country are described and mapped in flow charts. Flows are also presented for each of the EU/international organisations involved in risk communication on food safety. A number of relevant networks are identified that actively engage in sharing/exchanges of risk communication material on food safety, including networks managed by EFSA. This project also highlighted certain challenges in current risk communication systems, and recommendations are made to address them. At national level, these are: an increase in resources dedicated to coordinating communication on EU food safety issues, to improve capacity to undertake this task; strengthen the cooperation and coordination between authorities involved in risk communication activities to ensure a more proactive approach. In addition, recommendations are provided to enhance further collaboration of communication activities at all levels (between Member States and with EFSA; between EU Agencies), so that the coordination of risk communication at EU level follows a partnership approach.

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