On August 28, 2018, the non-profit environmental law organization ClientEarth published an analysis of the reform of the EU’s General Food Law as proposed by the European Commission (EC) in April 2018 (FPF reported). The EC’s proposed regulation aims to improve transparency and sustainability of risk assessments in the food chain. This would concern, for example, substances ending up in food such as pesticides or chemicals migrating from food packaging.
ClientEarth’s analysis calls for considerable amendments to the proposal for the regulation to fulfill its goals. The EC’s proposal would require the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to publish industry studies on substances in food and their effects on human health and the environment. However, the proposal would allow industry to make confidentiality claims upon which EFSA could redact key information. ClientEarth pointed out that usually only little information provided in industry studies is related to trade secrets. Further, the EC’s proposal would restrict the public’s right to view commercially sensitive information, even when there is overriding public interest in disclosure. Therefore, ClientEarth suggests improving the wording of the EC’s proposed reform to ensure an actual increase in transparency.
ClientEarth (August 28, 2018). “Reform of the general food law – Analysis of the new provisions on transparency.”