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
IMEKOFOODS 7th Conference has been organized with the support of EURAMET with the purpose to get together scientists working on food related fields, such as food chemistry, nutrition, food safety, risk assessment, food authenticity, etc., where the metrology plays an important role to ensure consumer’s protection. The event will take place from the 25th until the 27th of October 2023.
Registrations to join the event will be opened until 31 July 2023 only for participation without any scientific contribution or with poster(s) at the following link: https://conferences.imeko.org/event/6/
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
On September 2021, the Food Safety Operational Lab 3 (FSOLab 3) kicked off with 22 participants from 14 countries across different business sectors (e.g., research, industry, academia, European Initiatives, Food Safety Authorities etc.).
FSOLab 3 is managed by Dr. Denisa E. Duță, Dr. Nastasia Belc and Dr. Gabriel Mustățea, from The National R&D Institute for Food Bioresources (IBA, Romania), supported by Dr. Biancamaria Ciasca from National Research Council of Italy – Institute of Sciences of Food Production (CNR, Italy) as Lab Facilitator.
FSOLab 3 aims to develop Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) in Food Safety addressing the fragmentation of the Food Safety Stakeholders, policy priorities and emerging technologies.
The 1st workshop was conducted on two challenging days and introduced the participants in the Social Lab process in order to form a collaborative team which was able to analyze the existing Research and Innovation Strategies, Research Programmes, Implementation Plans (provided draft) related to food safety areas, to identify gaps, to improve the approaching of food safety in a systematic way and to obtain a comprehensive diagnosis as a basis for discussions. At the end of the workshop, participants were able to identify some pilot ideas in the Food Safety sector for implementation for achieving a coherent SRIA.
The Analysis of existing Research Agendas related to Food Safety issues (Relevant EU Policies; EU General Food Law and related risk-based food safety regulatory frameworks; The EU Green Deal; Farm to Fork strategy; Biodiversity strategy; Strategy for sustainable Chemicals; Common agricultural policy (CAP); EU consumer policy; EU environment policy; EU global food security) revealed that the Key drivers with impact in Food Safety are: climate change, changes in food and farming systems; Rapid technological advancements and emerging technologies; Integration and improving risk assessment methodologies; Assessment of new technologies; The current COVID-19 pandemic.
After the evaluation of the most relevant challenges in food safety domain, associated R&D directions were proposedby participants to minimize/solve the challenges which were further clustered into seven core themes: Effective communication and public awareness; Novel hazards and risks; Sustainable and food safety system transformation; Food authenticity and traceability; Safe choices in consumption pattern; New technologies impact; Digital transformation. “Novel hazards and risks” was voted as the core theme with the highest importance and lowest uncertainty among the other ones, to be taken into consideration for defining a pilot implemented during the project lifetime.
Suggested Pilot Actions for FSOLab3 for core theme:Novel hazards and risks.
The pilot actions were drafted in terms of: time structure; target groups; information and research required; responsibilities and roles; milestones and next steps
Pilot idea 1 – Alliance on Food systems: emerging risks and hazards
Goals: – To bring together all the food safety actors for building a common strategy to address emerging risks and hazards – To have an overall picture of the actors and repository of research/actions/initiatives – European Food Safety Partnership as a tool for collaboration – Pilot approach for building a part of the EFS Forum
Pilot idea 2 – Fast-response RIA for emerging hazards
Goals: – Strategy for a Research Innovation Agenda Target groups (involved in drafting the SRIA through consultation and STEEPV analysis): national authorities (e.g. FSA), policy makers and risk managers (e.g DG Sante, EFSA), research, industry, consumers, society, professional associations, ad hoc young people structured group) to guarantee a systemic approach and cross-sectorial approach
Next step: the drafted pilot ideas will be further analyzed and discussed in the 2nd FSOlab 3 workshop (Autumn 2021) to establish a priority list of topics for future research to address global challenges (SDGs, RRI).
All in all, the first FSOLab 3 wokshop was very demanding but promising in contributing to build a SRIA which will reinforce the role of Europe as global leader in food safety standards.
Denisa E. Duță, FSOLab manager, FoodSafety4EU
National R&D Institute for Food Bioresources-IBA Bucharest, Romania