Potential EU conflict of interest on genetic engineering issues
Some cheering news passed on by a wideawake reader.
As the EU Parliament Magazine confirms, the European ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros has ruled in favour of a complaint filed by Testbiotech against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), created in 2002 created to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply.
A former senior staff member at EFSA, Dr Suzy Renckens, who was head of the unit responsible for the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants for five years until 2008 has moved to a job at Syngenta, a company that produces and markets these plants.
The Strasbourg-based ombudsman said “EFSA should acknowledge that it failed to observe the relevant procedural rules and to carry out a sufficiently thorough assessment of the potential conflict of interests arising from the move of a former member of its staff to a biotechnology company.”
Christoph Then, of Testbiotech had earlier been very concerned that both EFSA and the commission had rejected their original complaints, potentially putting at risk the protection of consumers and the environment.”
Others have passed through the revolving door
Olivier Hoedeman, of Corporate Europe Observatory, said, “There have been other cases of staff going through the revolving door. EFSA should look carefully at the ruling and introduce a far stricter approach to conflicts of interest in the future.
EFSA now has until 31 March to respond to the judgement of the ombudsman who has the power to table the issue in parliament.