Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Conflicts on the menu

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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.

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about CEOs “misinterpretations of EFSA’s work which you repeatedly recycle are as uninformed now as when they were originally made”.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
 
Heard by the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Bernhard Url, EFSA's director, said that the EU had "enough scientific capability around [...] without a chief scientific adviser".
An analysis of the revised independence policy of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). More reworded than revised, actually.
Will EFSA become more transparent, and to lobbyists or scientists? After its public consultation on its draft transparency policy, the Authority must now choose.
A presentation explaining the situation at the European Food Safety Authority and why conflicts of interest scandals keep accumulating there.
"There is de facto a systemic collusion between the Commission and business circles"
The way in which the Commission has appointed the head of its “in-house think-tank” has demonstrated its woefully inadequate conflict of interest assessment for new appointments, says Corporate Europe Observatory. The conflict of interest assessment applied to the former chief of the Lisbon Council, Ann Mettler as head of the new European Political Strategy Center (EPSC) does not appear to have explored her close cooperation with some of the biggest corporate players in the digital and technology market. In CEO's view, this casts serious doubts on the independence of the advice that is to be given to President Juncker and his college of commissioners.
Civil society organisations denounce European Commission’s leaked proposal
On 17 April, Via Campesina, the D190-20 Alliance and Corporate Europe Observatory held a lobby tour around the Brussels European quarter, highlighting the corporate lobbies who are pushing an aggressive agenda around TTIP (the EU-US trade deal currently being negotiated). There was a particular emphasis on the impacts TTIP will have, if passed, for farmers' livelihoods, food standards, and for the way food is produced in the EU. The next negotiation round will take place on 20 April, this time in New York.

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