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Joint statement: Calling EFSA to reform

HEAL together with social and environmental organisations demand a radical overhaul of our food and environmental safety system and of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). We are calling for profound changes to ensure that EFSA fulfills its intended role of providing unbiased and up-to-date scientific advice to protect public health.

Below you will find a summary of our key demands to reform EFSA.

1. Prevent conflicts of interest

EFSA’s independence policy should effectively exclude people with conflicts of interest from its scientific panels, working groups, scientific committee and staff. Also, the management board should be free from people with industry interests.

2. EU laws should be overhauled so that products are tested by independent bodies, not industry

3. A code of scientific practice should be established for EFSA

Currently it is often not clear how EFSA arrives at certain opinions and conclusions: for example, which scientific evidence it has taken into account and why. Scientifically rigorous, transparent and replicable methodologies for EFSA’s risk assessment work should be established.

4. Improve transparency and accountability

EFSA must make accessible all data and information on which it bases risk assessments. All industry data, and EFSA’s decision-making processes on the data, must be available on the internet. Currently this is not the case for instance for pesticides.

5. Ensure wider participation

EFSA must broaden the area of scientific expertise of its experts. EFSA experts should be paid out of public funds for their safety assessment work, but industry must cover the cost. A system must be established to include different types of input into the risk assessment, including societal, economic, ethical and environmental factors – though this should not be the task of EFSA.


HEAL (Health and Environment Alliance), Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EUGroup, Greenpeace European Unit, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Réseau Environnement Santé (RES), Sociedad Española de agricultura ecologica/Sociedad Española de agroecologia (SEAE), Corporate Europe Observatory, Earth Open Source, European Professional Beekeepers Association (EWIV), Food&Water Europe, ASEED Europe, BUND – Friends of the Earth Germany, Cancer Prevention and Education Society (CPES), Ecologistas en Accion, Fondation Sciences Citoyennes, GMWatch, Platform Aarde Boer Consument, Polish Forum of Organic Agriculture, Union Nationale de l’Apiculture Française, XminY solidarity fund

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Last updated on 10 December 2012

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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