The Food 2030 conference: Green and Resilient Food Systems will contribute to feeding the dialogue about the transition towards sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems for the benefit of the environment and economy.
It is organized by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.
The event will take place in Brussels and will be web-streamed on 4 and 5 December 2023.
Registrations for in-person and online participation will open mid-September.

The first European Food Safety Forum will take place in Brussels on the 28 and 29 November 2023 in Brussels @ La Tricoterie.

The Forum will be organized as periodic appointment for gathering together Food Safety System actors in order to share knowledge and best practices, to discuss the Food Safety hot issues, to propose collaborations for improving the efficacy of the Food Safety policies and research in Europe. It will be held in Brussels every year, usually jointly with a European Commission event. The first edition of the Forum will present the platform and the results of the FSOLabs.

Strategies, roadmaps and recommendations delivered by the project will be then validated at institutional level ensuring their alignment with EU Food Safety policies, and enhancing the harmonization of Horizon 2020 Associated Countries and neighbor countries policies with the European ones. The organization of the European Food Safety Forum will take into account the best innovative models of breakout sessions to make the participatory process more effective

The round table discussion aims to explore the relationship between risk assessors and risk managers. High-level experts and EU project coordinators will contribute their expertise and insights to enrich the dialogue.
The discussion is divided into three parts, with the first section setting the context through presentations on the legal architecture of risk analysis, identifying the food safety system, and contributions from Holifood
and FoodSafeR projects. The second part features a dialogue between the experts, including representatives from WUR, EFSA, and FoodDrinkEurope.
The final part encourages an interactive debate and discussion with both the experts and the expert audience of the FS4EU Consortium.


Part I: Setting the Context

  • Legal architecture of risk analysis, Hanna Schebesta, Food Law Professor, WUR
  • Net-Mapping: identifying the food safety system , Niels van der Linden, FSOLab 1 manager, WUR
  • HOLiFOOD contribution to the relationship between risk assessors and risk managers, Ine van der Fels, Holifood coordinator, WUR
  • FoodSafeR contribution to the relationship between risk assessors and risk managers, Ine van der Fels, FoodSafeR WP leader, WUR

Part II: A Dialogue Between High-Level Experts

  • Ine van der Fels (WUR)
  • Stef Bronzwaer (EFSA)
  • Alejandro Rodarte (FoodDrinkEurope)

Part III: Interactive debate/discussion with Experts and the Audience

The outcome of this inspiring dialogue is the Multi-actor policy brief, released on June 26, 2023.                                                                                

To discuss different angles within the complex topic of Food safety, the European Commission funded project FoodSafety4EU has set up four so-called food safety operational labs (FSOlabs). In these labs relevant actors from the food safety system exchanged and collaboratively came up with innovative actions to be implemented in four different priority fields of the food safety sector: i) Harmonization of enforcement practices with emphasis on unregulated hazard and emerging issues; ii) Aligning research programmes and funding opportunities at national and EU level; iii) Food Safety Strategic and Innovation Agenda; iv) Innovative approaches and models to inform civil society about food safety research and risk assessment.

An approach based on the social lab methodology

In general, social labs offer room for social experiments to address complex topics on a systemic level – in our case food safety related topics. The FSOlab process was structured as permanent working groups for the project’s duration. In a series of three workshops planned within one and a half years, the lab teams established ideas for actions, tested and evaluated them, and finally critically discussed them with a broader audience. This allowed for continuous learning cycles within the lab processes.

The learning cycles were organised along the workshops of the labs, namely: Workshop 1 was dedicated to ideation, co-creation and selection of ideas for specific actions according to relevant diagnosis aspects. Workshop 2 was dedicated to discussing, improving, and adapting the actions according to feedback and gained experiences. And Workshop 3 was dedicated to evaluating actions, discussing options for further development, and finally exploitations and recommendations.

The lab teams gathered for one-and-a-half or two-days workshops (initially planned f2f but finally online). Workshop methods and techniques were applied to enforce creative processes, support participants, tackle group dynamics and offer networking opportunities. To support co-creation processes a mix of many different formats, such as world café, design-thinking, fishbowl conversations, speed-dating sessions, or other Innovative workshop techniques were chosen. But of course also the intervals between the workshops were used to keep the lab process alive.

Positive feedback from participants All four labs came up with interesting solutions and products on their topics with which the lab participants were very satisfied. In general, there was a clear “thumb up” from the lab participants who were asked about their participation in the lab. They liked the methods and structure of the workshops, the composition of the groups and the interaction among them. Although some disadvantages could be found in the online format, many advantages were formulated, especially the easy participation at low cost. Also, many positive effects on their working environments could be noted. When asked whether they would ever participate in a lab again or recommend participation to others, the participants gave a clear yes. We have gladly incorporated their ideas for improving the labs for the next time


A powerful methodology applied for the first time ever to national Food Safety Systems

Thanks to the innovative methodological work and digital adaptation by Wageningen University, as part of the FoodSafety4EU platform, the Net Map Analysis methodology has been applied in December 2021, for the first time ever, to the Italian national Food Safety System (FSS)!

The overall aims of this Net Mapping were to:

  • Identify who are the stakeholders in the Italian science -policy- society (SPS) collaboration system,
  • Describe their respective missions, contributing to risk assessment, risk management, and/or risk communication,
  • Define the main links between all those stakeholders: data exchanging, communication, etc.
  • Point out the constraints in their relations, resources and capabilities in conducting risk analysis (i.e. risk assessment, risk communication, risk management

Here is a short video to better understand the methodology:

Here, with Italian voiceover:


South Hub NetMap : 10 high-level Italian experts reflecting together on their national Food Safety System

On Thursday 9th of December 2021, 10 Italian experts representing national risk assessment, risk management and risk communication areas put their heads together at work through this novel methodology. We would like to thank them:

  • Dr Rossana Valentini, Direttore Ufficio, Ufficio 2-DGOCTS, Ministero della salute
  • Dr Francesca Roberti, Chimico, Ufficio 8 – DGISAN, Ministero della Salute
  • Dr Michele Suman, Food Safety & Authenticity Research Manager, Barilla SpA
  • Luisa Crisigiovanni, Segretario generale, Altroconsumo
  • Dr Ivan Pecorelli, Dirigente Chimico, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Umbria e delle Marche (IZSUM)
  • Dr Stefano Pongolini, Risk Analysis and Genomic Epidemiology Unit, IZS Lombardia e dell’Emilia-Romagna (IZSLER)
  • Dr Stefania Crovato and Dr Barbara Tiozzo, Laboratorio comunicazione, IZS delle Venezie (IZSVe), members of EFSA’s Communications Experts Network
  • Dr Chiara Dall’Asta, Associate Professor, Universita degli Studi di Parma
  • Dr Francesca Debegnach, Italian National Institute of Health, Department of Food Safety, Nutrition and Veterinary Public Health

For more than 5 hours online, facilitated by CNR – ISPA, FS4EU coordinator, they dedicated their mind and enthusiasm to this delicate task of mapping the Italian FSS, which they all actively take part in, and identifying its potential needs for improvement in the food risk analysis process.


One of the co-constructed network mapping of the Italian Food Safety System


West Hub NetMap : 9 high-level Belgian experts in risk analysis related to circular economy and recycled food packaging materials

On Friday 14th of January 2022, from 9:00 to 12:45, 9 Belgian FSS experts got down to map their fellow national stakeholders involved in risk analysis related to recycled food packaging materials in a circular economy, more specifically paper and cardboard packaging. We would like to thank again the 9 involved experts:

  • Dr. Xavier Van Huffel, Senior expert in safety of the food chain, Former Director Risk Assessment of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain
  • Ir. Wendie Claeys, Scientific expert (chemical risks), Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain
  • Dr. Els Van Hoeck, Head of service Organic contaminants and Additives, Sciensano
  • Els Heyvaert, Regulatory Expert Food Contact Materials and Food for Specific Groups, Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
  • Ir. Alexander Platteeuw, Food safety coach & trainer and owner of A+ Quality
  • Evelien De Ridder, Quality Manager Packaging & Food Contact Materials, Colruyt Group
  • Dr. Wim Geeraerts, Food Policy Advisor, Fevia
  • Willem van Veen, Senior Advisor Sustainability & Food Contact, inDUfed
  • Prof. dr. Bruno De Meulenaer, Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health, UGent

Special thanks to Prof. dr. Sarah De Saeger, Dr. Celine Meerpoel (Notekeeper and research assistant) and Niels van der Linden (technical support) for creating the adequate conditions for the West Hub NetMap and its expert participants, who proved very active and even requested a follow-up meeting.

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One of the co-constructed network mapping of the Belgian Food Safety System


In total, 4 FS4EU Hubs to undergo this exercise

In the FoodSafety4EU Platform, partners and stakeholders coming from all over Europe (and more) are divided into 4 geographical Hubs. Therefore, this NetMap Analysis methodology will be collectively applied another 2 times in early 2022:

  • in Czech Republic, for the East Hub
  • in Finland, for the North Hub

In the end, when all the data from this Netmapping session will be crunched and processed, each Hub’s representative country is expected to have a clearer, more complete picture of their national FSS, both quantifying and qualifying the role and influence of every stakeholder.

Knowing how different actors interact within a system, can facilitate the understanding of some connections at National level among the players, who sometimes could be not completely integrated, due to different strict institutional roles and functions. This could not generate a smooth room for a structured dialogue.

It’s being discussed how to valorize this kind of exercise and how to design a model to be experimented, and hopefully adopted, if proving relevant, by the main institutions in the Food Safety Systems of the EU Member States and affiliated countries.

Presenting this approach and the Hub cases to policy makers will help them, as well as all the other actors of their national FSS, to be more efficient, as they will be able to rationally prioritize both relevant calls to action and specific channels of communication between actors.

As we improve continuously, there is no doubt that those next NetMap Analysis will prove ever more fruitful, so stay tuned for those events!

Beyond issues about our own health, the foods we consume also have an impact on the health of the planet – which in turn, affects human health in the long term; in recent years, specific figures and reports have underlined various worries for living ecosystems: climate change, undamped GHG emissions, marine litter, as well as both local and global biodiversity loss all along our own food chain – from soil organisms to pollinators and marine life.

These phenomena appear as substantially caused by our agricultural and farming practices and, at the end of the day, by current human eating habits and patterns. While our main focus will always be producing safe foods for all humans, we now need to make sure that they prove to be safe for our planet as well.


Are we living on a free-range planet ?
(Photo credit : Creative commons)

How can we all fight for our planet?

Needless to say, since plant-based diets tend to have a lower planetary impact than animal-based diets, European consumer’s choices are of paramount importance in the current agricultural paradigm shift. Furthermore, going for more plant-based foods financially allows EU citizens to select more certified, eco-consciously-raised animal foods, thus leading to reduce EU farming environmental impacts, as long as those foods are safe to consume, available, affordable and deliver the required nutritional needs for each individual.

However, EU consumers are not the only actors that can contribute to more sustainable diets, and tons of public and private initiatives are already being taken in this direction : from EU fundings of projects to step up European cultivation of pulses, legumes (ex: here or here) and insect-based feeds/foods (here) to food eco-labeling and consumer information schemes (here), as well as technological breakthroughs allowing for more eco-friendly farming practices, such as precision agriculture (robotic automatization, crop imaging), vertical farming, advances in biostimulants and biopesticides for crops, genetic engineering, or even plant-based/cultured meat, etc.


Examples of current AgTech for tomorrows’ sustainable foods
(Photo credit : IDTechEx Research)

Do you want to further get involved in food sustainability?

Then save the date: Food sustainability is the topic of the Pre-Forum organized online on the 15th of December (register here) by the FoodSafety4EU project, gathering various European stakeholders: private, public, scientific, industrial, consumer organisations, etc.

You are very welcome to join and contribute together to shaping the future collaborative platform for food safety in the EU.


#FS4EU for sustainable food

This introductory conference will pave the way for the future EU FOOD SAFETY FORUM, a place where you will find some answers to both general and specific questions about how food safety and food sustainability interconnect, and where citizens’ requests will be sped up more efficiently to political level.

Please don’t hesitate to show up and help build the future of our foods: safe for us, safe for our planet.