EFSA Chair Moves to Food Industry Lobby Group

Brussels, 9 May 2012 – Campaigners today condemned the latest revolving doors case at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) after the chair of the management board Diana Banati was asked to resign after accepting a post as the head of the food industry lobby group ILSI Europe [1]. EFSA said that the post was “incompatible” with her role as chair.

Nina Holland from Corporate Europe Observatory said it was totally unacceptable that Banati should be able to move from such an important position within the regulatory authority straight to a lobbying job – and that such a situation could arise, revealed fundamental problems in the way that EFSA had been set up.

Tomorrow the European Parliament votes in plenary on the approval of EFSA’s budget – with calls for approval to be postponed because of conflicts of interest.

Nina Holland said:
“This move is an absolute scandal and highlights how the European Commission must revise the founding regulations of EFSA to eradicate such conflicts of interest from the management board. EFSA’s close links to the food lobby through ILSI Europe undermine the authority’s ability to act in the public interest. There is a clear conflict of interests in this case and a cooling off period should be imposed.”

The European Food Safety Agency was recently forced to admit that it had failed to act appropriately in a previous case of revolving doors when an expert on EFSA’s GMO panel left to become a lobbyist for biotech company Syngenta, without any cooling off period [2].

ILSI Europe is one of the main industry lobby groups and plays a key role in exerting industry pressure on EFSA [3]

Monica Macovei MEP is calling in a report for the approval of EFSA’s 2010 budget to be postponed because of conflicts of interest at EFSA. The report explicitly refers to ILSI Europe as an industry lobby group. The report has already been accepted by the Budget Committee.

Contact: Nina Holland, tel: +31 630285042

[1] http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/120509.htm
[2] The EU Ombudsman criticised EFSA for mishandling the case of Suzy Renkens who went from EFSA's GMO panel to become a lobbyist for Syngenta. http://www.corporateeurope.org/pressreleases/2012/european-food-safety-a...
[3] http://www.corporateeurope.org/blog/new-briefing-international-life-scie...