EFSA faces increased pressure

In recent months, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has come under increasing pressure regarding its internal structures, particularly in light of claims that representatives from industry have a significant influence on the advice the agency gives to the Commission. On November 12th, as representatives met in Italy to mark the tenth anniversary of the EFSA, demonstrators took to the streets.

Photo credit: Corporate Europe Observatory

The demonstration was held in front of the EFSA Headquarters in Parma, Italy where members of the EU agency had gathered for a conference to mark the achievements of the agency over the past decade. NGOs, farmers, students and activists gathered outside to demand an end to conflicts of interest, and call for improved transparency and accountability, as well as wider participation. The establishment of a code of scientific practice was also pushed by the protesters.

Nina Holland, of the Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory group said:

 “We stood on EFSA’s doorstep in Parma to deliver our demands for radical change at the agency in order to really work for food and environmental safety.

Whilst José Manuel Benitez from Spanish farmers organisation COAG said:

EFSA is not fulfilling its mandate to ensure European citizens safe food and safe farming environments. European farmers and peasants demand a radical shift in EFSA’s modus operandi.”

And the story doesn’t end there. Earlier this week, EU-wide body, the Cancer Prevention and Education Society (CPES) raised fresh questions about the agency, called for the EFSA to reform its founding regulation if it wants to become a credible, scientifically expert organisation.

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Watch a video here: http://vimeo.com/53508839