Pioneering advances in the EU Food Safety System: highlights from the first EU Food Safety Forum

Articles | 2024-01-08 | Nunzia Cito, Veronica Lattanzio

In a landmark gathering that echoed the perspective of a safer food future, the inaugural European Food Safety Forum convened on November 28 and 29, 2023, in Brussels. This event brought together over 120 participants from diverse corners of Europe, uniting stakeholders in the realms of science, policy, industry and society. Their collective mission is to share insights, foster collaboration, and chart the course for the future of the European food safety system.

As a natural culmination of the FoodSafety4EU project, funded by the European Commission, the Forum stood as a testament to the strength and diversity of the European food safety community. Experts from various disciplines converged to explore innovative approaches and collaborative solutions that could support the food safety system transformation in Europe.

What’s new

A structured place for collaboration: this Forum emerged as a new vibrant platform where food safety experts, policymakers, and representatives from society engaged in a dynamic exchange of ideas. The air buzzed with anticipation as participants delved into discussions, eager to contribute their expertise to the collective pursuit of a safer food supply.

Implementing and showcasing the multi-actor approach – diversity and unity: one of the standout features of the event was the convergence of experts from different fields, having worked together on the 3 years’ project, fostering an environment of interdisciplinarity and collaboration. The diversity of perspectives – from scientific rigour to policy acumen and societal insights – illuminated the multifaceted nature of the challenges and opportunities in ensuring food safety.

FoodSafety4EU legacy: as the concluding flagship event of the FoodSafety4EU project, the Forum provided a platform to showcase the project’s achievements that exemplified the project’s impact on enhancing food safety practices (among others,  Digitalized Net-Map tool to analyze complex risk analysis systems, Guidelines for the alignment of joint transnational research programmes, Risk assessment toolkit, new roadmaps for food safety, risk communication practices, the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda), and set the stage for the next phase of advancements.

The insights, collaborations, and innovative approaches from this gathering lay the foundation for a resilient and responsive food safety system in Europe. In the spirit of unity and progress, the Forum has set a precedent for future collaborations, demonstrating that when experts join forces, the possibilities for a safer food supply become large. Looking ahead, the legacy of the Forum will contribute to shaping the trajectory of European food safety towards sustainability, capitalize on the collective efforts of the FS4EU community, and exploit its approach and results.

Synergies in action: a pivotal moment unfolded as participants actively sought and discovered potential synergies between EU-funded projects. The Forum served as a melting pot of groundbreaking ideas, with experts leveraging the opportunity to align efforts and amplify the impact of their respective initiatives. This collaborative spirit promises a synergic future, where the sum is truly greater than its parts, and an inclusive one, with actively involved youngs contributing to the multi-stakeholder environment.

Next steps

Looking forward: 21 FS4EU project partners signed the  EU FOOD SAFETY PLATFORM agreement (Terms of Reference), symbolizing a renewal of mutual trust and commitment to continue shaping the EU Food Safety System of the future. The platform serves as a dynamic hub for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and fostering ideas to ensure safer food. This collaborative effort underscores the importance of a united front in addressing the complex challenges of ensuring the safety of the food supply chains and their governance.

The EU FOOD SAFETY PLATFORM invites experts and stakeholders to become part of this vibrant community and contribute to shaping the future of food safety in Europe, by signing the Terms of Reference (ToR)!

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