On March 27, 2014 the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly concluded on two cases of maladministration within the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as the authority failed to dispel concerns of conflict of interest expressed by the non-governmental organization Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe. The first case related to the composition of EFSA’s working group on the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC), in which 10 of 13 members had previously promoted the TTC and could thus be considered biased. In the second instance, two external meetings on the TTC and a related topic organized by EFSA and the industry-funded research institute International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) excluded stakeholders from non-governmental organizations other than one animal rights organization. The Ombudsman concluded that EFSA failed to guarantee the independence of working group members and did not ensure balanced stakeholder composition in its external meetings. She thus found both cases to be instances of maladministration.

The European Ombudsman receives complaints against EU institutions from European citizens. In response to a complaint, the Ombudsman reviews the case and issues a decision that may find an instance of maladministration. The Ombudsman’s decisions are not legally binding; however, the Ombudsman evaluates and reports on the follow-up by institutions in response to her remarks.

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European Ombudsman (March 27, 2014). “Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2522/2011/(VIK)CK against the European Food Safety Authority.