On December 6, 2013, the online newspaper Huffington Post republished the article “Behind Closed Doors: Who’s Taking Meetings with FDA on Food Safety” by public health lawyer Michele Simon from the U.S. non-governmental organization (NGO) Center for Food Safety (CFS). Drawing on a report by the Sunlight Foundation, Simon reports that representatives from industry interest groups had four times more meetings with the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) than public interest groups, which were only present at 18% of FDA meetings. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Sunlight Foundation was able to obtain information on the number of consultations of different groups with the FDA and the occasions thereof. Interestingly, the Sunlight Foundation discovered that meetings between the FDA and industry took often place followed industry-tarnishing media reports. In its summary, the report’s author Nancy Watzmann points to the weakness of the federal lobbying disclosure rules and urges the implementation of “real time, public disclosure of industry’s efforts for special treatment”.
Simon, M. (published online December 2, 2013) “Behind Closed Doors: Who’s Taking Meetings With FDA on Food Safety” Center for Food Safety (CFS)
Watzmann, N. (published online September 26, 2013) “Rulemaking in the dark: Little disclosure when big food lobbies the FDA” Sunlight Foundation