EFSA defends GM panel

Related tags European food safety authority Genetically modified organism Evolution

Europe's food watchdog defends its independent risk advice as
environmental group Friends of the Earth raises concerns over the
scientific opinions on genetically modified food crops.

The group claims that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), whose remit is to offer authoritative science-based advice on food issues through panels of scientific experts, in just over a year has published 12 scientific opinions, virtually all favourable to the biotechnology industry.

"In just over a year it has published 12 scientific opinions, virtually all favourable to the biotechnology industry,"​ a spokesperson from Friends of the Earth commented to FoodNavigator.com.

National concerns on GMOs projected by national scientists are being dismissed by EFSA, she added.

But yesterday EFSA refuted the claims made by the environment group, stating that "it fully fulfills its role of providing independent, authoritative advice on issues related to genetically modified organisms".

Responding to further concerns that some scientists on the GMO EFSA panel 'do not meet the high standard' of not being above 'suspicion of bias', the agency commented: "EFSA is not influenced by commercial or any other interests in this area."

"Twomembers have even appeared in promotional videos produced by the biotech industry.Eight members of the Panel, including the chair, are already involved in assessing GMapplications at the national level, and so have a double involvement, meaning that theyare often ineligible to make decisions in the panel,"​ adds the FoE.

The Brussels-based agency, soon to move to Parma in Italy, said the report will shortly be discussed publicly at a board meeting, possibly on 16 December.

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