FoodSafety4EU - Multi-stakeholder Platform for Food Safety in Europe
Food safety is essential for a healthy and sustainable diet and food system. In its current state, the EU food safety legal framework is not quick enough to adapt and address emerging risks and challenges within the food chain. At the same time, evidence shows that most consumers are likely to be aware of food safety only in times of food crises when there is a high risk of misinformation and the loss of consumer/citizen trust in public institutions.
FoodSafety4EU, a three-year project funded by Horizon 2020, will design, develop and release a multi-stakeholder platform to meet the needs of a future European Food Safety System (FSS). New participatory processes will sustain and allow a community of food system actors to thrive and exchange knowledge (policymakers, researchers, NGOs, industry, citizens and civil society).
The FoodSafety4EU consortium consists of a multidisciplinary team from 12 EU member states and associated countries and over 50 stakeholders (food safety authorities, consumers’ associations, research centres, industry etc.). This community is expected to grow and evolve into a forum by the end of the project. Its 23-partner consortium led by Italy’s National Research Council (CNR), is building a multi-stakeholder platform that will enable the future European FSS and actors to efficiently access resources and data, share and exchange scientific knowledge, interact and network, and create new partnerships. FoodSafety4EU underpins the EFSA mission for risk assessment and communication and aims to be a basis for a knowledge centre for food safety in Europe. As one of its main outputs, the development of a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) in Food Safety, will help FSS actors prioritize emerging risks and hazards in the food chain.
EUFIC leads the creation of ‘strategies to improve public awareness and engagement of food safety’, which will develop public engagement materials and models. These strategies will allow specific food actors to engage more meaningfully with citizens and civil society groups. With partners’ support, EUFIC is also already involving FoodSafety4EU’s active community of over 50 stakeholders (food safety authorities, research institutions and academia, producers, and consumer organizations), known as the ‘supporting partners’ network. The development of new partnerships and a coherent engagement strategy are crucial to the growth and success of this network and the project's ambition to have a self-sustaining multi-stakeholder platform by the end of the project. EUFIC is also active in areas of communication and awareness-raising, helping to deliver wide-ranging content (videos, articles, social media content) targeting consumers and relevant stakeholders, all of which aim to improve general awareness about food safety risks and challenges in Europe.
FoodSafety4EU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (H2020-EU.220.127.116.11. – Healthy and safe foods and diets for all) under Grant Agreement No. 101000613.
Public engagement models. EUFIC piloted several workshops which promoted knowledge exchange between food system actors (communication experts, researchers and scientists, policymakers, NGOs, and industry) and the wider public about effective communication and engagement practices in the food safety domain. Feedback was gathered to inform the development of innovative engagement models guaranteeing the sustained engagement of policy actors, citizens and researchers within the European food safety system. In the final stages of the project, EUFIC will deliver a report defining and outlining a concrete public engagement methodology targeting different actors.
The first public engagement workshop took place amid EU Green Week, kickstarting a European-wide discussion about the priorities for food risk communication with diverse food system actors.
Partnerships. FoodSafety4EU’s network of supporting partners is pivotal to the success of sustaining a future EU food safety system. EUFIC is leading the development of this network and ensures its continuous growth via outreach and digital tools connecting stakeholders and experts from within the food safety field.
A map demonstrating where FoodSafety4EU’s 50+ supporting partners are already active.
Communications & awareness raising. To help improve food safety literacy in Europe, FoodSafety4EU is designing and developing awareness-raising campaigns which have aimed to strengthen consumers’ trust in science, scientists, and public bodies. Using its expertise in communication and citizen science, EUFIC has played a pivotal role in shaping the creative content of some of these campaigns (e.g. #OpenDebate & Food Safety Glossary).
A snapshot of past campaigns, events, and collaborations EUFIC has contributed to, supporting the drive towards an all-inclusive European food safety system.
For further information, visit https://foodsafety4.eu/. There you will be able to find more information about the project.