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Wednesday, 07 March 2012

EFSA’s scientific work towards better transparency

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently published implementing rules related to Declarations of Interest (DOIs), one of the cornerstones of its recently adopted Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes. The rules related to Declarations of Interest (DOIs) continue to strengthen the procedures in place for screening and managing interests declared by those involved in EFSA’s activities. The new rules provide a clearer and more transparent set of general principles applicable to all those engaging in EFSA’s work – scientific experts, staff, members of the Management Board and third party organisations, including external contractors. The implementing rules allow EFSA to tap into the best scientific expertise available while ensuring – for both the organisation and its experts - independence and integrity throughout all areas of the Authority’s governance and work. EFSA has utilised the new rules in the ongoing re-establishment of its Scientific Committee and eight of its Scientific Panels. For all other individuals and processes concerned, the rules will enter into force as of 1 July 2012, with a 4-month transition period.
Speaking ahead of the information session, EFSA Executive Director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, said: “EFSA understands that, notwithstanding the high caliber of its scientific work, the value of its scientific advice is directly linked to the level of trust held in it by the public and therefore seeks to guarantee independence in all aspects of its governance and scientific activities. ”
The new rules lay down in detail the criteria EFSA uses for assessing interests declared by scientific experts and other individuals involved in its work. Different types of interests are listed with guidance about whether or not they constitute potential conflicts of interest. Where a potential conflict of interest is identified, the scientific expert or individual is prohibited from participating in EFSA’s scientific work or taking up certain roles.

Source: EFSA