This morning, the General Court of the EU annuled the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) refusal to disclose data from industry-owned scientific studies on the toxicity of glyphosate. Responding to the ruling, Corporate Europe Observatory’s agribusiness researcher Martin Pigeon said:
"This ruling is very important as it confirms the Court's case law on the overriding public interest in public access to all toxicity study data for pesticides. The ruling extends this disclosure requirement to the sections on ‘material, experimental conditions and methods’ as well as ‘results and discussion’, which EFSA had refused to disclose to Corporate Europe Observatory when we requested the studies underlying its glyphosate evaluation.
“So today’s ruling provides EFSA with a straightforward legal guideline for dealing with future disclosure requests: Names and signatures of individuals aside, studies must be disclosed in their entirety.
"The timing of this ruling is also very meaningful, as the European Parliament will soon adopt in plenary the revised General Food Law, making data disclosure by EFSA systematic and mandatory. And while the EU Commission and EFSA will then decide on implementing rules specifying when commercial interest and intellectual property protection may still justify data confidentiality, today's court ruling makes it clear that such arguments can no longer be used against data disclosure as far as pesticides are concerned."
Theresa Crysmann, CEO media officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 (0)289 309 30
Notes to editors:
The ruling was made by the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which means that the European Food Safety Authority may appeal the ruling – but only on a point of law. Find the press release on the ruling here: https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2019-03/cp190025en.pdf
The ruling insists that "an EU institution, hearing a request for access to a document, cannot justify its refusal to divulge it on the basis of the exception relating to the protection of the commercial interests of a particular natural or legal person, where the information contained in that document constitutes information which ‘relates to emissions into the environment’.
More on the December 2018 European Parliament plenary vote on the reform proposal for the General Food Law here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/630315/EPRS_BRI(2018)630315_EN.pdf