Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Campaigners Demand Change at EFSA

  • Dansk
  • Nederlands
  • English
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Ελληνικά
  • Italiano
  • Bokmål
  • Polski
  • Portuguese
  • Română
  • Slovenščina
  • Español
  • Svenska
Parma, 13 November – Campaigners today demonstrated outside a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), held at its headquarters in Parma, Italy. Farmers, NGOs, students and local activists gathered to denounce the industry-capture of our food safety system that EFSA plays a key role in.
 
José Manuel Benitez from Spanish farmers organisation COAG said: “EFSA is not fulfilling its mandate to ensure European citizens safe food and safe farming environments. European farmers and peasants demand a radical shift in EFSA’s modus operandi.”
 
The conference is celebrating 10 years of “transparency, independence and scientific excellence” but the campaigners say that EFSA experts and members of its management board have frequently been shown to have a conflict of interest with the food and biotech industry.
 
They argue that even after 10 years, EFSA has not put in place the robust rules needed to effectively ban such conflicts of interest with industry.
 
Nina Holland (Corporate Europe Observatory) said:
"We're standing on EFSA's doorstep in Parma to deliver our demands for radical change at the agency in order to really work for food and environmental safety. EFSA and the European Commission are celebrating EFSA's 10th year anniversary, but
we think they better clean up their act and ban industry influence from food safety decisions."
 
Earlier this year the European Parliament earlier refused to approve EFSA’s budget, and the European Court of Auditors called EFSA’s independence policy ‘inadequate’.
 
Campaigners also criticise EFSA’s reliance on industry studies and data to form its scientific advice to the EU institutions.
 
Citizens and farmers gathered in the demonstration call for EFSA to be fundamentally reformed and presented demands for change, supported by a large group of European civil society networks and organisations, in the following areas:
 
1. Prevent conflicts of interest
2. EU laws should be overhauled so that independent bodies test substances, not industry itself
3. A code of scientific practice should be established
4. Improve transparency and accountability
5. Ensure wider participation
 
On Monday (12 November), farmers and citizens took part in a conference in Parma to discuss EFSA’s longstanding problems and to consider possible alternative approaches.

ENDS
 
Contact:
Luca Colombo, FIRAB, l.colombo@firab.it , tel: +39 348 39 88 618
Nina Holland, CEO, nina@corporateeurope.org, tel: +31 630 285 042
Andrea Ferrante, European Coordination Via Campesina , a.ferrante@aiab.it , tel:+393480189221
 
Pictures of the conference and demonstration are available at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/corporateeuropeobservatory/

The detailed demands with the full list of supporting organisations can be read on http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/EFSA-demands-...
 
Related issues: 
 

Polluters in Peru blog

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.
A new draft EU directive currently looked at by the European Parliament wants to protect companies' "trade secrets", but uses definitions so large and exceptions so weak that it could seriously endanger the work of journalists, whistle-blowers, unionists and researchers as well as severely limiting corporate accountability. We publish a joint statement together with several other groups for the directive to be radically amended.
In the face of a disastrous Lima Outcome for local communities, their environments and the climate, many of the climate justice groups attending COP20 released a joint statement in response to what countries had agreed to, as well setting our own agenda.
The UN climate talks in Lima, COP20, have had the pervasive influence of business all over them. Yet despite this, business is still not happy with the influence it has on the talks and wants a greater role.
As the UN climate talks – COP20 – wrap up in Lima, CEO took part in a press conference to reflect on what two weeks of negotiations mean for climate justice and the road to Paris. Organised by the Institute of Climate Action and Theory, CEO was joined by with Michael Dorsey (board member of Sierra Club) and Jagoda Munic (Chair of Friends of the Earth International).

Alternative Trade Mandate

Corporate Europe Forum