The event, arranged to mark the European Food Standards Agency’s (EFSA’s) 10th anniversary, brought together global specialists from a range of scientific backgrounds.
Scientists at the event, which started on 7 November and ended yesterday, debated the frontiers in risk assessment in the food industry and discussed future key issues and opportunities.
Attendees were welcomed by EFSA executive director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, who reaffirmed EFSA’s commitment to expanding the risk assessment capacity in Europe.
A keynote presentation was given to delegates by EFSA director of science strategy and coordination Hubert Deluyker, in which he outlined EFSA’s vital role in developing risk assessment in Europe. Deluyker said: “EFSA functions thanks to the EU risk assessment community. And we are central to its progress – for instance through the development of guidance that has harmonised and modernised methodologies relating to risk assessment for food and feed over the past decade.”
Deluyker also called for a debate on how risk assessment organisations, such as EFSA, can focus resources. He said: “A core challenge is about where we focus our time and effort to continue to make progress in protecting consumers.”
According to the EFSA, in recent years, it has “significantly” evolved operations. It said evolution of the organisation had been driven by advances in science and technology, as well as legislative framework changes. “This has seen an increased emphasis in EFSA’s workload on the evaluation of regulated products, environmental risk assessment and post-market monitoring. These changes have been reflected in EFSA’s recently developed Science Strategy,” it said.
At the close of the event EFSA’s scientific committee chair professor Tony Hardy said: “This should not be a one-off. These scientific conferences should take place more often and focus on some of the issues raised. Science will always drive forward with developments in technology and also in scientific theory. We need to look across the compartmentalisation of science and techniques so that methods used successfully in one area can be applied in others in a multidisciplinary way.”