EFSA is clamping down on food industry lobbyists getting involved in its work in areas such as health claims.
The agency this week published new rules on conflicts of interest for people working with EFSA, including scientific experts, staff, members of its management board as well as third-party organisations and external contractors.
Under the rules, scientific experts previously employed by industry will have to wait two years before they are allowed to sit on EFSA’s scientific groups. There will also be restrictions on scientists who receive funding from the private sector, and a dedicated committee for monitoring conflicts of interest.
To illustrate the rules, EFSA gave the example of an expert connected with “a commercial enterprise that sells probiotic yoghurt drinks”. Such an expert would not be allowed to participate in EFSA’s scientific work if they were employed by a probiotic drinks company.
The new rules come after EFSA was criticised for allowing industry scientists to carry out work despite conflicts of interest. They will come into force over a four-month period from 1 July.