EFSA: ‘We have received comments that our opinions are written by a bunch of nerds’

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA HQ: Where nerds gather to opine
EFSA HQ: Where nerds gather to opine

Related tags: Food safety, Communication, European food safety authority

EFSA needs an interactive Wikipedia-style guide to food safety to improve communication and public trust, following comments that its opinions are written by a bunch of nerds, according to the agency’s scientific adviser Hubert Deluyker.

Speaking at the IFT expo and conference in Chicago this week, Deluyker said that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) struggled to translate scientific information into language that consumers could use and understand.

“We are trying to communicate proactively,” ​he said. “What seems to be really missing from a consumer trust perspective is a Wikipedia of food safety. We are really struggling to translate our scientific opinions into information that is easily understandable by the public.

“…Not to hold people by the hand, but we need an interactive website that people can use something like a Wikipedia.”

He said that such a site was already in the planning process and should be up and running by the end of the year, funding permitting.

“We have received comments that our opinions are written by a bunch of nerds​,” he said. “…It’s in everyone’s interest that they [the public] understand them, but it really is a question of resources. We need to continue to invest in consumer trust.”

EFSA launched an initiative to improve transparency in its risk assessments back in January, including allowing public access to scientific data and opening its scientific meetings to the public. This followed a report from independent auditors last year​ that said its communication was “adequate for a well-informed target audience”. 

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Posted by Bryan R. Clarey,

Obviously, there is a disconnect between the consuming public and the scientists who report of food safety issues. Social media, like a Facebook page, would be a way to post the article and then have someone write a summary in easy to understand language. Starting another website or a blog (that no one is going to go to) is futile. I started something similar but it has fallen by the wayside bc of funding. Advertising the page (which is extremely easy, extremely targeted, and not that expensive) is essential. Every time I was able to advertise my page, my "likes" would jump significantly. Don't start another website. No one is going to go to it but if it shows up in their news feed periodically, they'll read it. Check out mine: Facebook.com/whatweeat.

Bryan R. Clarey

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EFSA-Nerds? Maybe one calling the other BLACK?

Posted by HARRY,

Exercising bias straight jacket out dated controls often not coordinated with latest experienced scientific available knowledge and peer research.
Yet too frequently peer research may not have true claims. Here remains a conflict.

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