Europe’s health and food safety

“Europe’s pesticide and food safety regulators – Who do they work for?”

Claire Robinson asked this question based on report published by Earth Open Source in April 2011:

“The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is charged with giving scientific advice to the regulators of pesticides, genetically modified (GM) foods, and food contaminants and additives, in the interests of protecting public health. But some prominent EFSA experts and officials have conflicts of interest, holding positions in organisations funded by the same companies whose products they help regulate.”

EFSA has its own policy on declaration of interests for experts, giving their independent scientific advice at the level of risk assessment, done in Parma (Italy). Their reports and opinions are indeed used as a technical basis in regulatory procedures of the European Commission and its sanding committees in Brussels (Belgium). But risk assessors in Parma are far from regulators in Brussels and are not involved in legislation drafting. Procedures in both institutions are so complex (EU citizens even think that they are too complicated) that an individual opinion of single expert has very little influence.


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