The first European Food Safety Forum is set to take place in Belgium this week.

The event, on Nov. 28 and 29, in Brussels, will gather food safety stakeholders in Europe, to share knowledge, best practices, and address critical food safety challenges.

One highlight will be the presentation of results from the EU-funded project FoodSafety4EU (FS4EU), including strategies, roadmaps, and recommendations for enhancing food safety in Europe.

The two-day meeting marks the end of a three-year FS4EU project, which had 23 partners, including research institutions and universities, national food safety agencies, and industry representatives.

With more than 200 registrations, the forum will welcome scientists from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), policy advisors from the European Commission, representatives from consumer protection NGOs, and other experts.

Veronica Lattanzio, from the National Research Council (CNR) in Italy and project coordinator, said the forum can act as a platform for advancing food safety.

“By bringing together experts, decision makers, and stakeholders, we aim to accelerate progress and foster collaborative solutions that enhance food safety policies and research.”

A European Food Safety Forum will be held annually to share updates on key food safety topics, in conjunction with events hosted by the EU Commission or by other EU-funded projects.

The FS4EU project also has an online hub with experts and resources to help build an interactive, multi-stakeholder dialogue around food safety in Europe.

UKAFP meeting
Meanwhile, nearly 200 food industry professionals met in Wales this past week to discuss food safety resilience at the annual United Kingdom Association for Food Protection (UKAFP) conference.

Speakers at UKAFP. Picture: Matthew Horwood

Organized by Cardiff Metropolitan University’s ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, the event brought together food and drink processing and manufacturing businesses with academics and environmental health professionals.

UKAFP is an affiliate of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). UKAFP and ZERO2FIVE held a poster competition for students and early career scientists to present their research to attendees.

Helen Taylor, technical director at the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, said it was important for food safety professionals to discuss the latest science and solutions to continue to respond to the challenges faced as part of the evolving food landscape.

“Food safety remains a top priority for consumers and it is imperative that we, as food safety professionals, share knowledge, experience, and expertise in order to continue to build a resilient and robust food safety sector in Wales and beyond.”

Delegates heard from Carmel Lynskey, deputy director at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), on how the authority is building resilience in regulation and from Professor Louise Manning, of the Lincoln Institute of Agri-food Technology, on how to make food supply chains more resilient.

Other presenters included Dr Benjamin Johns, clinical scientist at Public Health Wales, speaking about the role the agency plays in food safety; John Figgins, senior technical manager at BRCGS shared insights from the third-party auditing perspective and Dr Rachel Ward, managing scientist at Exponent, spoke about resilience when handling a food safety crisis.

Lynskey, head of the Achieving Business Compliance program at the FSA, said: “Effective regulation plays a critical role in maintaining consumer confidence and supporting businesses. To keep maintaining the high standards of food safety we enjoy in the UK, it is important that we continue working together to keep food safe and find the smartest way to protect millions of consumers.”

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