- December 11, 2018
EU Parliament votes to lift the veil on food safety assessments
Today, the European Parliament voted in plenary to make risk assessment in the food chain
The Parliament supported making public right away the non-confidential parts of industry
applications submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for authorising food
additives, pesticides or GMO. Unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure,
confidential treatment may be granted to a closed list of non-safety related information
items. The onus shall be on industry to prove commercial harm if certain information is
disseminated. Whilst commercial use of the data will be prohibited, its use for research
purposes will be freely permitted to allow for peer scrutiny of EFSA scientific assessments.
BEUC Director General, Monique Goyens commented:
"We are glad the EU Parliament chose to stand by consumers. Public controversies around glyphosate, aspartame or bisphenol A have shaken consumer confidence in the way the
EU regulates food safety. If we are to rebuild consumer trust, we must end the secrecy
around the studies used by EFSA to appraise the safety of substances ending up in our
Yet EU lawmakers also backed some amendments which could hamper full transparency:
- The setting up of a ‘Board of Appeal’ for industry to contest EFSA confidentiality
decisions, which will delay the publication of safety data.
- The inclusion of “innovative ideas” in the list of potential confidential items. This
vague and unspecific language paves the way for abusive confidentiality claims.
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