SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
5 October 2017
Volume 18 Issue 10
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SETAC Europe Participates in the European Food Safety Authority Stakeholder Bureau

José Julio Ortega-Calvo, Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología, CSIC, Seville

Marc Wieland, wheat field
Photo credit: Marc Wieland

SETAC Europe is running a process for strengthening communication strategies. Targets for this effort range from our own members to professional societies (e.g., societies with a focus on biology or human health) who are not already a part of SETAC, and to audiences who can really use the science for improving environmental quality, such as EU agencies, and national and regional public health and environmental health departments.

In this context, it’s my pleasure to communicate to the SETAC community that I was elected as SETAC Europe representative in the academia stakeholder category (ASC) for the Stakeholder Bureau (SB) of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA- see video) for the next three years. Seven stakeholder groups are represented in this Bureau – consumer organizations, distributors, farmers and primary producers, NGOs and advocacy groups, academia, business and food industry and practitioners’ associations – and SETAC Europe was elected to represent the academic stakeholders. Academia here refers to “science” and includes scientific organizations like SETAC Europe. The results from this election process were announced at the inaugural meeting of the EFSA’s Stakeholder Forum (SF) in May 2017 in Parma, Italy. As part of their efforts in bringing “Trusted Science for Safe Food,” EFSA recently launched their Stakeholder Engagement Approach, with the SB and SF as permanent engagement mechanisms. The SF meeting was organized by EFSA to host the 100 registered stakeholders. It was a highly productive event where stakeholders could directly exchange their views and concerns about regulatory-relevant topics, such as quality data for risk assessment, usability of EFSA's outputs and clear communications, and transparency and open data in risk assessment. Our presentation on data quality, distilling the most recent efforts at SETAC on the subject, including a Pellston Workshop®, was very well received.

The EFSA Stakeholder Bureau held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 19 September 2017, and our expectations are high. The activities planned by EFSA SB have a final goal of providing stakeholders with a better understanding of EFSA’s scientific decision-making processes and improving the quality of EFSA’s scientific outputs. Stakeholder activities include preparing the annual forum, advising EFSA on stakeholder engagement strategies, providing input to EFSA at a high level with regards to societal concerns on health, environment, food production and other issues, and ensuring trust in EFSA’s decisions.

The dialogue that has started at this platform advances SETAC Europe’s communication strategies and provides an excellent opportunity for closer interaction with the regulatory agency and the representatives of the other six stakeholder categories constituting the Bureau. The representative role for ASC consists of capturing the views of the stakeholders included in this category, which includes different scientific organizations, in addition to SETAC Europe, covering a wide variety of interests, such as nutrition, animal welfare, research and innovation and social and environmental responsibility.

Author’s contact information: jjortega@irnase.csic.es

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