Pooling Stakeholders and Resources for shaping the Food Safety System in Europe

Articles | 2023-06-01 | Nunzia Cito, Veronica Lattanzio, Nastasia Belc

The FoodSafety4EU platform is growing as a Science-Policy-Society interface by incorporating various elements and engaging multiple actors from the European Food Safety System.

A digital platform is available to the FS4EU 23 partners from 12 EU Member States and Associated countries, engaging with a network of 50+ supporting partners, research institutions and academia, food business operators, food safety authorities, ministries, consumer associations and umbrella networks.

The platform is acting to promote:

Enhanced Collaboration

The platform fosters closer collaboration between scientists, policymakers, and society. It serves as a hub for sharing scientific research, knowledge and innovation, and expertise related to food safety.
Researchers can contribute with their findings and engage in discussions with policymakers, helping them make informed decisions based on updated scientific knowledge and data. They also can boost their results to introduce innovation in the food and feed chains, by connecting with enterprises and consumers and considering their needs.

The platform offers social experimental rooms  – named FSOlabs (Food Safety Operational Labs) – that can be joined to experience new ways of collaboration and feed the dialogue within the Food Safety System.

Science Communication

The platform plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between scientific research and the general public.
It provides accessible and understandable information about food safety issues, scientific studies, and risk assessment methodologies. This will empower citizens to make informed choices regarding their food consumption and enable them to actively participate in discussions and policy-making processes.

The platform offers a digital Knowledge Centre on Food Safety where to easily access updated knowledge and resources.

Stakeholder Engagement

The FoodSafety4EU platform facilitates the active involvement of various stakeholders, including consumer organizations, industry representatives, and civil society groups.
By incorporating their perspectives, concerns, and recommendations, the platform can ensure a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to food safety.
Stakeholders can provide valuable insights, share their experiences, and contribute to shaping policies that reflect the needs and expectations of society.

The platform offers digital tools for connecting people and hosts spaces for stakeholders’ contributions and participation, keeping updated the network

Strategies and Policy Co-creation

The platform serves as a space for collaborative policy development, where policymakers can interact directly with scientists and stakeholders. Through structured dialogue, they can collectively identify challenges, explore potential solutions, and co-create evidence-based policies and strategies.This participatory approach can enhance policy effectiveness, transparency, and legitimacy, while also fostering public trust in the decision-making process.

The platform hosts the EU Food Safety Forum, as an annual appointment to fix the dialogue, update the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and roadmaps, and gather actors from the Food Safety System.

Continuous Monitoring and Feedback

The FoodSafety4EU platform can establish a feedback loop between science, policy, and society. It can monitor the implementation and impact of food safety strategies and policies, gather feedback from various stakeholders, and assess their effectiveness. This ongoing independent bottom-up review can inform policy revisions, identify emerging issues, and ensure that the platform remains responsive to the evolving needs and concerns of the society it serves.

The platform offers spaces for consultations and for collecting input from its network through participatory process tools.

Education, Training and Communication

The platform can offer educational resources, training programs, and capacity-building initiatives to enhance scientific literacy, orientation to innovation, risk perception, co-creation and decision-making skills among policymakers, scientists, and society (consumers, producers, associations). By promoting a better understanding of food safety issues and their implications, the platform can empower individuals to actively engage in the Science-Policy-Society interface.

The platform offers materials and toolkits for communication, education and training, and shares knowledge and innovation on food safety in multi-stakeholders events and through its social media channels.

Overall, the FoodSafety4EU platform as a Science-Policy-Society interface can grow further thanks to its ability to facilitate collaboration, communication, and co-creation among scientists, policymakers, and various societal stakeholders. By embracing inclusivity, transparency, and ongoing engagement, the platform can contribute to evidence-based decision-making, effective policy implementation, and the promotion of public trust in the field of food safety throughout Europe.

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