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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.

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about CEOs “misinterpretations of EFSA’s work which you repeatedly recycle are as uninformed now as when they were originally made”.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
 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) finally sent us the raw data of three important scientific studies it used for its evaluation of glyphosate, the "Mysterious Three". But due to legal concerns, large sections of the data have been redacted.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) told CEO today, and publicly announced on their website, that they would disclose most of the raw data of studies on glyphosate used in the EU's toxicity assessment of glyphosate.

The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry. Seven months later, the pesticide industry still fights disclosure and, so far, successfully. We obtained a copy of their arguments.

The European Commission proposal on scientific criteria defining endocrine disruptors (EDCs) is the latest dangerous outgrowth of a highly toxic debate. The chemical lobby, supported by certain Commission factions (notably DG SANTE and the Secretary-General) and some member states (UK and Germany), has put significant obstacles in the way of effective public health and environment regulation.

CEO welcomes the very strongly worded final ruling by European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly in her inquiry into the Commission's implementation of UN rules for contacts with tobacco industry lobbyists.

CEO joined forces with nine other civil society organisations working for equality, non-discrimination, transparent decision-making and strong ethics rules: in an open letter to the European Parliament we urge MEPs to oppose Oettinger’s appointment as the Comission’s head of human resources.

After nine months of hearings, the draft report of the EU Parliament's inquiry into the Dieselgate scandal has it black on white: the European Commission and EU member states had known since 2004-05 that diesel cars' nitrogen oxide emissions were far above legal limits - yet neither took action.

Our new report shows how industry lobbies present employee protection against work-related cancers as an 'unnecessary' burden on companies, and explains which tactics have been used to weaken and delay the European Union's revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive.

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