Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Conflicts on the menu

As the European Food Safety Authority celebrates its 10th anniversary, a new report from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Earth Open Source questions the independence of its advice. Conflicts on the menu: a decade of industry influence at the European Food Safety Authority highlights the agency’s reliance on industry data and industry-linked experts and calls for a complete overhaul of EFSA’s operations.

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CEO and EOS have received a response from EFSA executive director Mrs Geslain-Lanéelle, which shows that EFSA continues its denial that there is a problem, and that that problem is being widely recognised by the public, media and decision makers. In her letter Geslain-Lanéelle speaks about CEOs “misinterpretations of EFSA’s work which you repeatedly recycle are as uninformed now as when they were originally made”. She refers to our previous articles, the comments made by EFSA and our responses to those comments.

Important developments will take place in 2012 that will show whether EFSA and the EU institutions have any intention of bringing about the radical changes needed. For instance, the membership of eight panels and the scientific committee will be renewed, EFSA is undergoing an official evaluation, and the European Commission will start this year with a revision of EFSA’s founding regulation.

In anticipation of these developments, this report by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Earth Open Source (EOS) explains how EFSA works, what science is used, how conflicts of interest occur, and how industry influences the agency’s work. Corporate Europe Observatory and Earth Open Source have published this report to contribute to the debate on what changes are needed in the interest of food safety, public health and the environment. We also aim to engage more people and organisations in the push for radical change at EFSA and to reverse its current pro-industry bias.

Read the full report, available as pdf in English and French

A three-minute animation clip produced by Corporate Europe Observatory highlights problems at EFSA:

English version: http://vimeo.com/33337236
French version: http://vimeo.com/33337250

CEO and EOS have received a response from EFSA executive director Mrs Geslain-Lanéelle, which shows that EFSA continues its denial that there is a problem, and that that problem is being widely recognised by the public, media and decision makers. In her letter Geslain-Lanéelle speaks about CEOs “misinterpretations of EFSA’s work which you repeatedly recycle are as uninformed now as when they were originally made”. She refers to our previous articles, the comments made by EFSA and our responses to those comments.Important developments will take place in 2012 that will show whether EFSA and the EU institutions have any intention of bringing about the radical changes needed. For instance, the membership of eight panels and the scientific committee will be renewed, EFSA is undergoing an official evaluation, and the European Commission will start this year with a revision of EFSA’s founding regulation.In anticipation of these developments, this report by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Earth Open Source (EOS) explains how EFSA works, what science is used, how conflicts of interest occur, and how industry influences the agency’s work. Corporate Europe Observatory and Earth Open Source have published this report to contribute to the debate on what changes are needed in the interest of food safety, public health and the environment. We also aim to engage more people and organisations in the push for radical change at EFSA and to reverse its current pro-industry bias.Read the full report, available as pdf in English and FrenchA three-minute animation clip produced by Corporate Europe Observatory highlights problems at EFSA:English version: http://vimeo.com/33337236French version: http://vimeo.com/33337250
 
A presentation explaining the situation at the European Food Safety Authority and why conflicts of interest scandals keep accumulating there.

According to several EU sources, member states’ diplomats in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) this morning pre-selected a food industry lobbyist to become a member of the board of the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

EU watchdogs warn member states that they should not appoint food industry lobbyists onto the Board of the EU's Food Safety Authority. Next May 7, member states sitting in the Council of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) will vote to appoint seven members of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
A director of the biggest EU food industry lobby group, FoodDrinkEurope, has found her way into the shortlist of candidates to the Management Board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). A current member of EFSA's Board belonged to the public sector when appointed but is now director of the national food industry association in Denmark, re-applying to EFSA's Board. Two other current members of the Board, also re-applying for the position, have strong ties to the agro-food industry. Member States have the final word on these appointments and must act to protect the agency's independence.
Scientific advice should be transparent, objective and independent, and there should be more science and more diverse expertise available to the European Commission’s President, a coalition of 28 international and national NGOs wrote in a letter addressed to President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker today (1).
A few observations on the debate sparked by our open letter on the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission, and on the need for proper scientific advice to EU legislators.
The position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission is problematic, concentrating too much influence in one person and undermining other Commission research and assessment processes. We ask Mr Juncker, the new President of the European Commission, to scrap the position.
David Cameron's nomination of a revolving door ex-lobbyist, Jonathan Hopkin Hill, as EU commissioner is bad news for Jean-Claude Juncker's newly-stated commitment to lobby transparency.

Corporate Europe Forum