“Go farther, go together” – the One Health conference has started – Day 1 highlights

One Health is the way to go to meet the food safety challenges of today and tomorrow, agreed the speakers on Day 1 of the One Conference. Collaboration and the commitment of institutions, stakeholders and scientists are essential to make it happen. Don't miss Day 2!

Commissioner Stella Kyriakides officially opened the conference. “EFSA has cemented the scientific basis for policy making and allowed us to maintain confidence in the EU food safety, raised standards and driven cooperation to improve how risk assessment is done.” EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url appealed to participants at the One Health, Environment, Society Conference in Brussels today, calling on scientific agencies to “make sense of the abundance of insights, data and knowledge” citing the rise in the global population to 10 billion by 2050 as a driver for change. He said the One Health approach can serve as the “stepping stone” between food safety and achieving food sustainability.

One of the participants at the One Conference wants to listen and learn about trends in food safety and how it relates to risk assessment, as well as meet new people including specialists.

Jessica Fanzo started the scientific discussions proposing that “Three Cs” – climate, conflict, Covid – are the current causes of food shocks, she supports a One Health response and being ‘business unusual’ on climate targets, getting evidence to policymakers, and diversifying our staple foods. Speaking on behalf of youth, Glyndis Virginia Luciano, challenged the audience “can your food be safe, nutritious and sustainable” while underlining that young people live under the shadow of a 1.5 degree increase in global temperature. The FDA’s Frank Yiannas asked why food, which used to unite people, is increasingly dividing us, and why science has become a factor. Traceability and better data are areas where the FDA are looking ‘as food system leaders’ to increase consumer trust.

Martina Brega from the University of Parma received the most votes in the poster video competition, taking home first prize. Martina’s poster describes her PhD research on antimicrobial phenomena potentially related to the food chain.

Jacqueline EW Broerse pleaded for a rethink to science communication, an end to the “deficit of thinking” and investment in social sciences. Sarah A Hartley stressed that epistemic engagement in risk assessment can make the science more robust with stakeholder knowledge contributing to decision-making. Patrick Wall reiterated the one health message: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!” Some lessons from Covid point the way, for example, bioinformatics and new approaches like biofortification have emerged strengthened. The opening day closed with a lively panel discussion covering key issues: for example, collaboration works in a crisis, but faces obstacles when aiming for opportunities, encouraging consumers to eat more sustainably requires authorities, producers and civil society to jointly promote healthy food choices.

Tomorrow’s another day and will be packed with discussions that follow on from the challenges raised today. Be sure to join online if not in person – you can register at any time – https://www.one2022.eu/

One of the participants at the One Conference is looking forward to learning about nutrition topics and hearing the institutional perspective of those present.

See more images from Day 1 here.