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Campaigners Demand Reform of EFSA

13 November 2012

Campaigners today demonstrated outside a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), held at its headquarters in Parma, Italy.

Farmers, NGOs, students and local activists have gathered to denounce the industry-capture of our food safety system that EFSA plays a key role in.

José Manuel Benitez (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.”

Nina Holland (Corporate Europe Observatory) said: “Today we’re standing 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. EFSA and the European Commission are celebrating EFSA’s 10th year anniversary, but we think they better clean up their act and ban industry influence from food safety decisions.”

The conference is celebrating 10 years of “transparency, independence and scientific excellence” but the campaigners say that EFSA experts and members of its management board have frequently been shown to have a conflict of interest with the food and biotech industry.

They argue that even after 10 years, EFSA has not put in place the robust rules needed to effectively ban such conflicts of interest with industry.

Earlier this year the European Parliament earlier refused to approve EFSA’s budget, and the European Court of Auditors called EFSA’s independence policy ‘inadequate’.

Campaigners also criticise EFSA’s reliance on industry studies and data to form its scientific advice to the EU institutions.

Citizens and farmers gathered in the demonstration call for EFSA to be fundamentally reformed and presented demands for change in the following areas:

1) Prevent conflicts of interest

2. EU laws should be overhauled so that independent bodies test substances, not industry itself

3. A code of scientific practice should be established

4. Improve transparency and accountability

5. Ensure wider participation

On Monday (12 November), farmers and citizens took part in a conference in Parma to discuss EFSA’s longstanding problems and to consider possible alternative approaches.

Pictures and videos of the conference and manifestation are available at:


For more information please contact:

Luca Colombo, FIRAB, l.colombo@firab.it , tel: +39 348 39 88 618

Nina Holland, CEO, nina@corporateeurope.org, tel: +31 630 285 042

Andrea Ferrante, European Coordination Via Campesina , a.ferrante@aiab.it , tel:+393480189221