Expertise for the future: learning and training in the area of food safety risk assessment
EFSA depends on a system of scientific panels, working groups and the expertise of its staff to perform its role in providing high-quality scientific opinions through food safety risk assessment. The centralisation of the evaluation at the EU level not only intends to increase efficiency, but also may represent a challenge with regard to maintaining and developing expertise in the areas of food, feed, plant, animal and environmental risk assessment. The food risk assessment requires a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach: excellence in relevant fields of science is a prerequisite, although knowledge of the full risk analysis process, the EU food law, consumer behaviour, international relations and skills in risk communication is also needed. To handle future challenges regarding food safety risk assessment in an ever-changing and increasingly complex environment, the appropriate expertise needs to be identified and a model of specialised and continuous training is required. The state of the art and the future of education in risk assessment are presented. The following issues are put forward in this special issue: new technologies implemented in risk assessment training; current developments in higher education and training on food safety risk assessment and regulatory science in the EU and worldwide; challenges in training on general risk assessment, food safety risk assessment and environmental risk assessment; best practices and techniques; future developments in capacity building for risk assessment training; and the increased need for training of professionals.