On August 29, 2019, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a report detailing the agency’s activities related to emerging risks during the year 2018. The agency’s activities aim to support the identification of risks within its domain and to develop and improve methodologies and approaches for emerging risk identification. The report presents 18 potential emerging issues that were discussed in 2018 by members within a risk knowledge network. Each issue was classified according to hazard and/or underlying drivers. Food fraud was found to be “of greater concern to consumers than other types of emerging risks.”

Two topics related to food packaging were reviewed and concluded to not be emerging issues. These include (i) the EU consumers’ perspective of food safety and (ii) food contact additives. Regarding consumer perspectives of food safety, recommendations were still presented within the report and included that “EFSA should look into interactions with other European agencies to draft possible synergies when confronting food safety issues.” Regarding food contact additives, the report noted the challenges associated with “replacing one material/application by another one (e.g. replacing plastics in consumer items such as straws, plates, cups/glasses); the use of paper glasses with carbonated drinks; the use of ‘natural’ alternatives to plastic, such as bamboo; even the use of those materials that have been historically used in other countries (e.g. papaya stem in Philippines) and that now are likely to be introduced in Europe.” The report writes that “in all these circumstances the characteristic of the new material, the substances they are made of (including impurities), the type of food likely to be in contact, its temperature, [and] the contact time (considering surface to volume) should be assessed.”


EFSA (August 29, 2019). “EFSA’s activities on emerging risks in 2018.” (pdf)