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EFSA welcomes guests with the ‘power of collaboration’

EFSA’s ‘Science, Food, Society’ conference began yesterday and will run over four days, discussing important food and environment related topics.

EFSA

The EFSA conference ‘Science, Food, Society’ began in Parma with over 1,000 representatives from research institutes, international organisations, national food safety agencies, EU bodies, stakeholder organisations and consumer groups.

EFSA’s Executive Director Dr Bernhard Url welcomed guests to the event, “We are here to share views on how we can better give citizens the answers and the protection that they ask and deserve. We are also here to reflect on the complex relationship between science and society and on how to ensure trust in our work.”

Dr Url mentioned how the conference had brought together a mix of various scientific disciplines, backgrounds and affiliations, from communication scientists, data scientists and social scientists.

He said: “Our theme for the next four days is Science, Food and Society. This triangle is full of energy, expectations and sometimes also of tensions… Obviously, there is no magic bullet for the scientific challenges and opportunities we face. However, one, almost magic, enabler is available and it’s in our hands to apply it: the power of collaboration.”

The conference is based around how scientists carry out their work, the context they work in and methods of interacting with citizens, taking into account various concerns in society. Dr Url expressed how he hoped the conference would be catalyst for future successful collaborations.

He went on the say: “The emotional power of food catapults our cool, dispassionate opinions into the centre of a heated value debate. It is a debate about the food production system, the environment, health, waste management, sustainability, even equality: issues strongly associated with our core European values, you might say.”

Dr Url concluded: “I am confident that together, through our interactions this week, through the contributions from all our distinguished speakers and experts, through hearing many different points of view and through your diverse expertise, EFSA will be able to collect new insights and integrate them into our future strategies.”

The conference lasts over four days, and look over nutrition, human health, the environment and biological hazards among other areas, such as a globalised food chain.

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