On June 11, 2017 the non-governmental organization Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published a report entitled “Recruitment errors,” analyzing 211 declarations of interest filed by the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) experts. The report finds that 46% of all experts in EFSA’s scientific panels “are in a direct and/or indirect financial conflict of interest situation with the agribusiness and food industries.” The investigation is an update to CEO’s 2013 report “Unhappy meal – the European Food Safety Authority’s independence problem” that found conflicts of interest for 59% of EFSA’s previous panel experts (FPF reported). On June 21, 2017 EFSA’s Management Board will vote on a new independence policy, CEO informed. EFSA held a public consultation on the draft independence policy from March 24 to May 12, 2017 (FPF reported). The European Parliament (EP) recently criticized EFSA’s draft policy, asking the authority to include a cooling-off period for experts with financial interests, consider research funding as a financial interest, and to apply its independence policy consistently to all staff (FPF reported). In CEO’s opinion, EFSA “has always prioritized excellence over independence.” However, “for a public food safety regulator, excellence is impossible to reach without independence from the food industry,” CEO stated.
CEO (June 11, 2017). “Recruitment errors.”