Home Database Research and knowledge projects Climate change as a driver of emerging risks for food and feed safety, plant, animal health and nutritional quality

Climate change as a driver of emerging risks for food and feed safety, plant, animal health and nutritional quality (CLEFSA)


The CLEFSA project helped to build on previous experiences of climate change-related risk assessments and a strong network with national and international partners, the scientific community and other stakeholders on emerging risks and their drivers. CLEFSA looked at issues identified in the context of EFSA’s emerging risks identification process.

The CLEFSA project aimed to develop methods and tools to identify and define emerging risks related to climate change through:

  • long-term anticipation of multiple emerging risks using scenarios of climate change;
  • horizon scanning and crowdsourcing to collect signals from a variety of information sources;
  • enlarging the knowledge network to experts from international EU and UN agencies;
  • designing "multi-criteria decision analysis" tools to define risks in food, feed safety, plant, animal health and nutritional quality.

The CLEFSA network included experts from international, EU and UN institutions and coordinators of large EU projects involved with climate change. The group helped to identify emerging issues and design the multi-criteria decision analysis tool. EFSA had already used criteria for emerging risks identification and adapted these to the specific driver of climate change.

CLEFSA has identified numerous issues that are driven by climate change and that may affect food safety in Europe.

  • Climate change has the potential of causing, enhancing or modifying the occurrence and intensity of some food-borne diseases and the establishment of invasive alien species harmful to plant and animal health.
  • It has an impact on the occurrence, intensity and toxicity of blooms of potentially toxic marine and freshwater algae and bacteria, on the dominance anpersistence of various parasites, fungi, viruses, vectors and invasive species, harmful to plant and animal health.
  • Climate change is likely to drive the (re)emergence of new hazards, increase the exposure or the susceptibility to known hazards and change the levels of micronutrients and macronutrients in food and feed items.

By the very nature of the challenge, this list is inevitably incomplete, and undoubtedly unanticipated surprises await us in the future.

Project information


European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)


Experts from the following organisations and institutions and coordinators of relevant international projects took part: World Organisation for Animal Health, European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, EuroCigua project, GlobalHAB programme, European Environment Agency, Food and Agriculture Organization, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Joint Research Centre, University of California, University of Florence, UN Environment Programme, World Health Organization, World Meteorological Organization, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.

Source of funding


Published in Climate-ADAPT Oct 23 2020   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 06 2022

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