Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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about CEOs “misinterpretations of EFSA’s work which you repeatedly recycle are as uninformed now as when they were originally made”.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

This May is dense on the EU chemicals regulation front. Crunch time for two major files: the European Commission needs to publish the identification criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals, and together with EU States must decide how, or not, renew the market approval of glyphosate, an herbicide produced and defended by Monsanto. Last week, the Professor Alan Boobis happened to be involved in both.

Demonstrating the problematic symbiosis between corporate interests and EU institutions, the same lobbying consultancies often get hired by both.

Ahead of the Commission's proposal for a new ‘mandatory’ lobby transparency register, CEO takes a look at the summary of the public consultation on the subject: civil society's call for better transparency systems faces the spin of corporate lobby groups and trade associations, which appear to promote transparency values but recommend limited implementation, loopholes and toothless management.

CEO's reaction to the the Bahamas leaks, which revealed ex-EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes' offshore links.

The European Commission's upcoming regulation proposal for acrylamide, a dangerous contaminant formed in many starchy foods when cooked at high temperatures, relies on codes of best practices developed by food industry lobby groups.

A new report on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) reveals how the trade deal could make EU member states vulnerable to costly lawsuits from North American investors that threaten public interest.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour