Today, Members of the European Parliament have just voted in favour of greater transparency around the authorisation of pesticides, GMOs and additives in the food chain. Following the call of over 1.4 million people in the largest ever European Citizens' Initiative (ECI "Stop Glyphosate") for more transparency in the authorisation of pesticides, in April 2018 the European Commission proposed a new regulation: "Transparency and sustainability of EU risk assessment in the food chain". The regulation will have an impact on the General EU Food Law and other legislation, for example on the authorisation of genetic engineering, pesticides and food additives.
A legal opinion, commissioned by the Greens/EFA group found that the Commission's draft regulation does not go far enough to bring about transparency, and could even endanger current rights on access to documents. However, a public register of scientific studies commissioned by the food industry, as proposed by the European Commission, is a good first step. The European Parliament is calling for studies to be published at the start of the EU authorisation process, for votes of national experts to be made publicly available.
Bart Staes, Greens/EFA group spokesperson on pesticides, comments:
"The European Parliament wants to bring about more transparency in the authorisation of pesticides, GMO's, novel foods and additives. The European Commission must no longer keep studies on the risk assessment of pesticides, genetic engineering and additives in food under wraps."
"Transparency from risk assessments of pesticides, genetic engineering and additives to the decision on authorisation must not depend on the goodwill of the food industry. We cannot rely on the industry to judge whether its own products are harmful. We need more scrutiny by independent scientists."
The Greens/EFA Group has taken the European Food Safety Agency to the European Court of Justice for publication of the industry studies on glyphosate it used for its assessment.
A legal opinion commissioned by the Greens/EFA Group concludes that the draft presented by the EU Commission fails to meet the objective of greater transparency: scientific data on the authorisation of foodstuffs and additives can continue to be kept unlawfully and under the guise of protection of trade secrets.