Spotlight on pressing issues
Pressing issues for the food industry, including ways in which to provide safe and healthy food for a global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, were addressed at a recent meeting of EFSA representatives, European and Italian institutions, the Spanish presidency of the EU and food chain stakeholders.
Other topics discussed were how best to ensure that agricultural and food production systems are sustainable in the long-term, and how to best promote innovation along the entire food chain.
“Europe has a thriving food industry backed by centuries of tradition and know-how,” says Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, EFSA’s executive director. “Innovation can bring major benefits for both the consumer and the environment, and it is important to assess the risks and benefits of new technologies. For EFSA, that can mean new applications to assess efficacy, and the need to either develop new risk assessment methodologies or refine existing ones. It can be challenging insofar as data in areas of new science such as nanotechnology or GMOs can be limited – and there may be significant areas of scientific uncertainty to address and communicate – but we are committed to meeting those challenges and to ensuring that European legislation is grounded in the best science.”
EU commissioner for health and consumer policy John Dalli adds: “I am a strong supporter of innovation and I am fully committed to maximising the advantages science can offer – but not at any cost. Innovation needs to be in tune with the broader values of society, to be of clear and visible benefits to consumers, and last but not least it must be accompanied by effective communication. When it comes to the food industry, safety is the essential precursor on which the food industry is built. A constructive, coherent and transparent engagement with all stakeholders is absolutely the paramount.”