Abstract: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed a suite of open access tools to estimate dietary exposure to food-borne chemical hazards. The tools are tailored to several regulatory domains within EFSA’s remit (e.g. food and feed additives, pesticide residues, contaminants and food enzymes) and are intended for use by EFSA experts, industry applicants of regulatory product dossiers, researchers or any stakeholder with an interest in estimating dietary exposure using European food consumption data. The majority of the tools are based on FoodEx2, EFSA’s food classification and description system as well as the EFSA Comprehensive European food consumption database. This paper provides an overview of these open access tools, the regulatory framework in which they were developed as well as data sources used.
Abstract: Microbiome research has recently gained centre-stage in both basic science and translational applications, yet researchers often feel that public communication about its potential overpromises. This manuscript aims to share a perspective on how scientists can engage in more open, ethical and transparent communication using an ongoing research project on food systems microbiomes as a case study. Concrete examples of strategically planned communication efforts are outlined, which aim to inspire and empower other researchers. Finally, we conclude with a discussion on the benefits of open and transparent communication from early-on in innovation pathways, mainly increasing trust in scientific processes and thus paving the way to achieving societal milestones such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Green Deal. View Full-Text
Abstract: Risk analysis and risk governance face a decline in social trust at both the scientific and policy levels. The involvement of society in the process has been proposed as an approach to increasing trust and engagement by making better use of available data and knowledge. In this session, EFSA explored the challenges in building trust and engagement and the latest thinking and methodologies for increasing openness that can help the organisation to move beyond traditional dialogue and towards a more sustainable stakeholder and society interaction. The discussion centred on the needs of EFSA and of target audiences throughout the process, from risk assessment initiation through societal decision-making and communication. The main focus of the session was on methodologies and approaches that would enable EFSA to increase its scientific rigour and build trust from additional inputs gained by opening up its risk assessments at the level of data gathering, data analysis, expertise and innovation. This will require an approach that moves beyond traditional risk assessment practices that rely on a long chain of static information and knowledge such as scientific articles, reviews, expert groups and committees.
Abstract: Since its foundation, EFSA and the Member States have made significant progress in the area of data collection for risk assessment and monitoring. In partnership with competent authorities and research organisations in the Member States, EFSA has become a central hub of the European data on food consumption, chemical occurrence and foodborne outbreaks. Beyond EFSA’s use of these data and sharing of contaminants and food consumption data with the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization to support international risk assessment, they remain largely unexploited. In addition, for some of its risk assessments, EFSA also relies on published information, as well as on scientific studies sponsored and submitted by industry. The environment in which the Authority operates has significantly evolved since its foundation. The growth of digital technology has granted scientists and consumers alike faster and more efficient access to data and information. The open data movement, which has entered the sphere of the European Union institutions, is unleashing the potential for reuse of data. In parallel, the work of EFSA is increasingly subject to demands for more openness and transparency across its spectrum of stakeholders. EFSA aims to enhance the quality and transparency of its outputs by giving access to data and promoting the development of collaborative platforms in Europe and internationally. EFSA also plans to work with data providers and organisations funding research to adopt open data concepts and standards; gaining better access to, and making better use of, data from a wider evidence base. During the breakout session on ‘Open Risk Assessment: Data’ at the EFSA 2nd Scientific Conference ‘Shaping the Future of Food Safety, Together’ (Milan, Italy, 14–16 October 2015) opportunities and challenges associated with open data, data interoperability and data quality were discussed by sharing experiences from various sectors within and outside EFSA’s remit. This paper provides an overview of the presentations and discussions during the breakout session.