Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) last week highlighted in a report that at least four members of EFSA’s management board are employed by or otherwise linked with food industry lobby groups and other commercial interests, a situation that creates potential conflicts of interest. These board members are: Matthias Horst (director general of the German food industry lobby BVE), Milan Kováč (director of International Life Sciences Institute Europe), Jiří Ruprich (Danone Institute) and Piet Vanthemsche (farmers’ lobby COPA and Agri Investment Fund).
EFSA’s press officer responded by arguing that according to EFSA’s Founding Regulation, four of the 15 Management Board members “shall have their background in organisations representing consumers and other interests in the food chain”. She said that these four members are currently Matthias Horst (industry), Piet Vanthemsche (farmers), Sue Davies (consumers) and Sinikka Turunen (consumers).
CEO does not find such a justification acceptable and reacts with an open letter.