On June 21, 2017, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Management Board adopted its new independence policy. The revised policy includes, among others, a new definition of ‘conflict of interest’ and a comprehensive set of “cooling-off” rules. Jaana Husu-Kallio, chair of EFSA’s Management Board, asserted that “the system already in place was robust and effective and we have further strengthened it.” Husu-Kallio also informed that the new independence policy will be implemented by the end of 2017.
A draft of the revised independence policy was open for public consultation from March 24 to May 12, 2017 (FPF reported). The outcome of the public consultation is available in an EFSA Technical Report. The European Parliament (EP) had commented on EFSA’s draft, demanding the policy to be more protective against influence from the food industry (FPF reported). According to an article published on June 20, 2017 by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), EFSA rejected to include the EP’s demands in its new independence policy. Further, CEO recently published an analysis of EFSA experts’ declarations of interest, finding that 46% of experts “are in a direct and/or indirect financial conflict of interest situation with the agribusiness and food industries” (FPF reported). Commenting on EFSA’s revised independence policy on June 22, 2017, Martin Pigeon from CEO stated that “unfortunately, EFSA’s new policy generally seems to be holding on to the biggest loopholes from its previous rules.”
EFSA (June 21, 2017). “EFSA reinforces independence policy.”
CEO (June 22, 2017). “New EFSA independence policy likely rejects most Parliament demands.”
EFSA (June 21, 2017). “EFSA’s policy on independence.” (pdf)
EFSA (June 21, 2017). “Outcome of the public consultation on EFSA’s draft Policy on independence.” EFSA Supporting Publications (pdf)