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Identification, assessment and management of existing and emerging food safety issues

Food-borne diseases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and a significant impediment to socio-economic development worldwide, but the full extent and burden of unsafe food, and especially the burden arising from chemical and biological hazards, is still largely unknown[[WHO estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases: foodborne disease burden epidemiology reference group 2007-2015. http://who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/199350/9789241565165_eng.pdf]].

Successful proposals are expected to address both of the following areas (area A and area B):

Area A

  • develop methods for early identification and monitoring of drivers of (re)emerging food safety risk and threats (e.g. global environmental changes, globalisation, technological innovations, policy changes, changes in values, perceptions and sensitivity, change in economic models, etc.);
  • develop methods and devices for the characterisation of emerging risks, with the aim of anticipating and possibly mitigating/preventing impacts (preparedness);
  • develop educational material/curricula to help strengthen existing food safety risk analysis teaching with an inter-/trans-disciplinary systems dimension;
  • engage authorities and the general public throughout Europe in early warning and the identification of emerging risks through a coordinated citizen science approach, and food safety awareness-raising efforts;
  • develop guidance on how to integrate food safety considerations in the design phase of innovations such as circular economy, by identifying possible emerging risks, in liaison with relevant initiatives that would benefit from the results;
  • develop methods to guarantee food safety in local food systems from farm to fork, in particular in small-scale businesses, and local cooperatives; and
  • develop holistic risk-benefit assessment methods and tools, and adapt these for use in a regulatory setting.

Area B

  • improve knowledge on the persistence of pathogens (including viruses) in food matrices and food processing environments for improved microbe control;
  • develop data, indicators and tools to address and tackle the risks associated with new and food-borne pathogens (including viruses);
  • develop and validate detection methods for new hazards and develop methods and devices for early identification of risks for food safety and threats;
  • develop more robust and responsive models for food safety crisis management, taking into account socio-economic and environmental factors;
  • analyse drivers of risks (globalisation, urbanisation, environmental degradation, climate change, etc.) to support the long-term anticipation and possible prevention of emerging risks; and
  • develop scientific evidence to support assessment of the risk posed to susceptible human subpopulations (including gender in the research context) and ecosystems and the underlying risk drivers.

Successful proposals should deliver support for evidence-based policymaking and related risk assessment activities and implementation needs, in particular for the development of effective regulatory control and enforcement aspects in the area food safety. Engagement with risk managers and risk assessors is expected for priority-setting and to deliver impactful results.

Proposals should explain how they will deliver co-benefits to the four Food 2030 priorities.

The multi-actor approach (see the eligibility conditions) must be implemented by involving a wide range of food system actors and conducting inter-disciplinary research. Proposals are encouraged to follow the One Health[[https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/one-health]] approach and to build on past or ongoing EU-funded research and cooperation with relevant initiatives (such as the One Health’ European joint programme[[One Health European Joint Programme: https://onehealthejp.eu/]]). They should have a clear plan on how they will collaborate with other projects selected under this topic (if funding of more than one project is possible). They should participate in joint activities, workshops and common communication and dissemination activities. Applicants should plan the necessary budget to cover these activities.