As discussions about a European Commission proposal on the transparency of EU food safety data are underway in both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, organisers of the #StopGlyphosate European Citizens’ Initiative warn that the proposal must be amended in order to live up to its promising objectives.
In 2017, more than one million Europeans asked the European Commission to ban glyphosate and to ensure the publication of all industry-funded studies used to back up regulatory decisions on pesticides.
In response, the Commission proposed a legislative reform that aims to oblige the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to proactively publish all studies that are submitted by companies when they request EU market authorisation for their products. While industry-funded studies play a very important role in EFSA’s evaluations of pesticides and other food-related products, only summaries of these studies are so far published, no full study reports.
The organisers of the European Citizens’ Initiative (Corporate Europe Observatory, Global 2000, Greenpeace, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Pesticide Action Network Europe and WeMove.EU) applaud the European Commission’s intention to make EFSA’s assessments more transparent and accountable.
But certain ambiguities and weaknesses in the proposal threaten to compromise this objective. If not properly amended, the current proposal could lead to even less relevant information available.
Based on a legal analysis performed by ClientEarth, the NGOs are asking the Parliament and EU member states to amend the proposal to ensure that:
- Citizens’ existing right to access documents upon request is not in any way restricted, and the existing obligation to publish is not restricted;
- The final text leaves no room for contentious interpretation, protecting EFSA from excessive confidentiality claims and costly litigations by industry, and;
- The reform actually leads to the publication of all information needed by scientists and citizens to understand the potential impact of a given pesticide or other food-related product on human health and the environment.