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Author: admin, 29.01.2014. Category: What Is Organic Food

Deadline 31 July - EU Health Award for NGOs fighting Antimicrobial ResistanceThe deadline to apply for the 2016 EU Health Award is approaching. Health-EU Newsletter Information Surveya€‹The Health and Food Safety Directorate-General of the European Commission is reviewing its Health-EU-Newsletter and welcomes your feedback. Do you wish to be a member of the Independent Advisory Panel on characterising flavours in tobacco products?The European Commission is looking for experts in sensory analysis, chemical analysis and statistics. Preparedness Guide on Zika and Substances of Human OriginThe European Centre for Disease prevention and control published today a guide for the preparation and implementation of a national preparedness plan for the safety of substances of human origin (SoHO) such as blood, tissue and cells in the event of a Zika virus outbreak in Europe.A  Zika virus is mainly transmitted to humans through mosquitoes but can potentially also be transmitted through substances of human origin. Pesticides: Member States support Commission's proposal to restrict the conditions of use of glyphosateThe Member States a€“ in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (meeting of national experts) a€“ today voted in favour of a proposal by the Commission to restrict the conditions of use of glyphosate in the EU.
Commissioner Andriukaitis announces the State of Health in the EU initiativeWith this package, the Commission will bring together internationally recognised expertise with the aim to provide Member States with evidence on health that is relevant to their specific country context and can maximise the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of their health systems.
Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU, with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros (FUSIONS, 2016). Wasting food is not only an ethical and economic issue but it also depletes the environment of limited natural resources. All actors in the food chain have a role to play in preventing and reducing food waste, from those who produce and process foods (farmers, food manufacturers and processors) to those who make foods available for consumption (hospitality sector, retailers) and ultimately consumers themselves.
This website provides information on EU actions to tackle food waste, a repository of good practices in food waste prevention, communications materials to help raise awareness and a food waste resources library.
One of the most important though least known institutions in the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is, according to its motto, “committed to ensuring that Europe's food is safe”. Download full report - Read press releaseIn recent years, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has come under sustained criticism from the European Parliament, NGOs and the media over conflicts of interest of those sitting on its scientific panels. The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry. The European Commission proposal on scientific criteria defining endocrine disruptors (EDCs) is the latest dangerous outgrowth of a highly toxic debate. Demonstrating the problematic symbiosis between corporate interests and EU institutions, the same lobbying consultancies often get hired by both. A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics.
Jose Manuel Barroso's move to Goldman Sachs has catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda.
Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth and LobbyControl today wrote to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, calling on him to investigate Angelika Nieber MEP over a possible conflict of interest. It should be acknowledged that botanical food supplements are subject to all the provisions of food law. The GFLR contains provisions and procedures to ensure that all food that is put on the market is safe. Individual manufacturers are legally responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the GFLR and the many other regulations relating to hygiene, quality testing, manufacturing and processing requirements, etc. The safety of botanical food supplements is also strengthened by additional legal requirements at National and EU level. In the case of botanicals, 'natural' is not synonymous with 'safe' – and some botanicals or parts of botanicals are poisonous. It must be emphasised that botanicals that may be harmful when consumed raw can be rendered safe by appropriate processing techniques, e.g. A plant may show undesirable effects for specific population groups, even when used in an appropriate way or it may interact with other foods or medicinal products. Some European Member States prefer a 'positive List' approach: whether or not they have a 'negative list', they also have a 'positive list' of botanicals considered appropriate for use in food products. Under the Novel Food Regulations, any food or food ingredient in the above categories, (including botanicals), which cannot demonstrate the required history of use in the European Union, must be authorised. Other Member States and the European Commission must be informed immediately, with reasons for the action. Despite comprehensive food safety regulation, problems can still arise - often related to the contamination of imported ingredients.
Rapid Alert notifications are sent when a food or feed presenting a serious risk is on the market and when immediate action is required.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement n° [245199]. The building stands on a site made available by the Parma City Council, a triangle delimited by access roads, an inner ring-road and railway lines. In 2016, the European Commissiona€™s EU Health Award recognises and rewards the efforts and achievements of European NGOs towards reducing the threat to human health from antimicrobial resistance. The activities set out in this guide aim to assist the Member States in decision making on how to assess and manage the risks posed by Zika to the safety of SoHO.
These conditions include a ban of a co-formulant (POE-tallowamine) from glyphosate-based products, obligations to reinforce scrutiny of pre-harvest use of glyphosate as well as to minimise the use in specific areas (public parks and playgrounds).
We cannot compromise on these standards but, in co-operation with Member States and stakeholders, are looking for every opportunity to prevent food waste and strengthen sustainability of the food system.


These experts play a crucial role in decisions key to the health and safety of Europe's food supply chain. The agency's recently appointed Director of Science Strategy & Coordination herself worked for ILSI until 2004. We are actively campaigning here in WA to stop this devastation to our markets and our food. The thing is that pro GMO's discusses that the GMO is necessary in order to meet the increasing demand of food from 3rd world countries. Seven months later, the pesticide industry still fights disclosure and, so far, successfully. The chemical lobby, supported by certain Commission factions (notably DG SANTE and the Secretary-General) and some member states (UK and Germany), has put significant obstacles in the way of effective public health and environment regulation. Crunch time for two major files: the European Commission needs to publish the identification criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals, and together with EU States must decide how, or not, renew the market approval of glyphosate, an herbicide produced and defended by Monsanto.
The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Aguas e Esgotos (Cedae). When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio. This includes first of all compliance with the General Food Law Regulation which specifies the responsibilities of the manufacturer and imposes a duty of notification in the case of a safety issue with the product. It includes a notification procedure whereby the competent authorities must be informed in cases where a food may have injurious effects on human health. It is well known that it is necessary to cook beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) at adequate temperature to destroy the phyto-haemagglutinin or lectins they contain. Assessment of the dose and ways in which to ensure that such doses are not exceeded should be part of the safety assessment. It must provide a dossier of safety information and receive safety clearance from the European Food Safety Authority before it can be used.
As soon as possible, the Commission must then examine the grounds adduced by the Member State concerned, consult the Member States within the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, and then deliver its opinion and take any appropriate measures. Thus consumers can be reassured that products subject to an Alert notification have been withdrawn or are in the process of being withdrawn from the market.
The architecture directly addresses these contextual elements, evoking an imposing institutional building whose three facades are monumental in scale and announce a powerful new presence within Parma's urban landscape. The survey results are anonymous and confidential and will not be used for purposes other than this evaluation. The guide identifies concrete activities to be considered at the local, national and EU level. The proposal was made in parallel with the extension of the approval of the active substance for the limited time. Following controversy over its close ties with industry, the agency has implemented a new policy designed to ensure the independence of its scientific panels. The expiration date that seems on packaged food is complicated to a lot of people, largely as a result of phrases used, such as “Best Before,” “Sell By” or “Use By.” Is food still secure to eat on that date, or somewhat after that date?
Care must taken to ensure people who are part of these bodies don't have a conflict of interest. This is completely wrong, and the most effective way to eliminate the current food crisis is to eat less meat. The legislation relating to novel foods, pesticides, contaminants, additives, genetic modification, irradiation, hygiene, etc is also applicable. For others, appropriate processing and quality assurance measures are used to get rid of harmful substances and render the botanical fully suitable for consumption as food. Removing these will make the plant fit for consumption, as is the case with potatoes, where the leaves are toxic but the tubers valuable foods. The requirements of the General Food Law Regulation cover the manufacturer's duties in relation to notification and product recall and the European Union Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) is an effective tool which provides the control authorities with a fast, efficient and European-wide mechanism for exchange of information on measures taken to ensure food safety. The notification aims to give  to all the members of the network the information to verify whether the product concerned is on their market, so that they also can take the necessary measures. Replicating EFSA's work and using only the information declared by the scientists themselves to EFSA – a conservative approach – we screened all interests of the scientific panel members as well as members of the Scientific Committee. Further GMO destroys crop production and is in no way a sustainable food production method. Over half of the 209 scientists sitting on the agency's panels have direct or indirect ties with the industries they are meant to regulate.
As a result of its new independence policy, EFSA banned 85 experts from joining its panels, so there was room for optimism that some of the major problems had been fixed.Unfortunately, that optimism is not borne out by our analysis.
A much clearer and stricter independence policy needs to be set up and rigorously implemented to restore the Authority's reputation and integrity. The “worst record” is held by EFSA’s panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), with 17 of its 20 members totalling 113 conflicts of interest between them.
One member of the panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) has 24 on his own.
On top of that, there is no visible difference in the proportion of conflicts of interests in the eight renewed panels compared to the two that are yet to be renewed, which poses further questions about the new policy's efficacy.Why such terrible results?


Excessive rigour on our part?To repeat, our methodology for this screening was very conservative: we did not check for undeclared interests by experts, we did not add omitted interests that we found in the course of the research. Indeed, as soon as EFSA was informed of CEO’s intention to scrutinize its new policy, we were invited to the agency's headquarters in Parma, Italy, in June 2013.
Thanks to this unprecedented gesture, we had the opportunity to converse with several high up officials from the Authority in the course of an intense full-day meeting, during which the agency's handling of conflicts of interests was extensively discussed.
But there is also a cultural issue, different in nature from problem of rule implementation, which we shall also examine.Firstly, EFSA's independence rules themselves are insufficient in the sense that they are too narrow. The main criterion the agency uses to assess an expert's given interest is to consider whether it falls inside the thematic mandate of the panel the expert is applying to.
In other words, any scientist with ties to the commercial sector can still be accepted as long as the interest is not related to the panel's topic.
This is in our view the biggest loophole in the rules, and probably the one main factor explaining our results. We considered that the relevant criterion was not the panel's mandate but the remit of EFSA itself. Furthermore, this thematic specialisation forces the declarations of interest to be assessed individually – at a considerable expense of time and energy – by all the agency's heads of units.As a consequence, some problematic interests are not considered as such. To cite only one example, a few ongoing collaborations with the industry think-tank International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) are still tolerated whereas this particular organisation has been at the core of past controversies with EFSA. Moreover, there is no cooling-off period: recent activities with industry-affiliated bodies are not considered a problem by the agency insofar as they are terminated, meaning scientists can go straight from these to sit on an agency panel. As a result, more than 30 experts with a history – even in the very recent past – at ILSI are still members of EFSA's scientific panels.5Secondly, while EFSA as an institution should safeguard its independence by taking charge of the checks for conflicts of interest proactively, it relies instead on the experts’ own self-assessments.
Information recorded by the scientists themselves in their declarations of interests or CVs is the only source used by EFSA.
Their accuracy is taken for granted, and not even a basic check on publicly available information, on the internet for example, is performed – almost an incentive for abuse.
The whole system will remain flawed as long as it only relies on experts' self-assessment.Many cases of conflicts of interest remain undetected by EFSA's current system because the rules are clearly insufficient. What is worse, there are problems of implementation of EFSA's already lenient existing rules: some conflicts of interests should have been detected according to EFSA's own rules but haven't been. Had EFSA thoroughly applied its new policy by the rulebook, we think, seven chairs and three vice-chairs of the scientific panels would not have been appointed.Finally, and crucially, an insufficient understanding of what conflicts of interest entail in practice undermines the screening process performed by EFSA’s staff.
The agency's idea of a conflict of interest revolves around a dramatic picture of corruption and infiltration by industry “moles” with evil intent. Industry influence tends to be exerted through long-term and structural processes of relationship- building within the scientific community itself, through culture, collective dynamics, accepted paradigms and group thinking – where it becomes natural to “think industry” – rather than through some kind of manipulation at the individual scientist level only. As we remind our readers in this report, science itself is nowadays an open battlefield for corporate interests. That should be cause for extra vigilance and scrupulousness when creating and implementing rules governing conflicts of interest. But EFSA seems unconcerned by this reality.Based on our research, the numerous discussions we had and our previous knowledge of the field, we have come to a series of recommendations that can also be seen as a more general contribution to the EU's initiative to deal with conflicts of interest in the agencies in a more rigorous and informed manner.
In the short term, EFSA could upgrade its rules by banning commercial interests entirely and improving its screening system. In the medium term, EFSA could outsource the screening of the declarations of interests from heads of units to specialised personnel, for instance magistrates from the European Court of Auditors. In the longer term, expertise could be in-sourced in order to give them all the means to do their work properly and be independent from the sectors they are regulating. Our recommendations are detailed at the end of this report.It is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. While our recommendations for better rule implementation might improve the quality and credibility of EFSA expert panels, there are also some larger structural issues that are beyond the scope of this report to properly address. For another, there is a structural conflict of interest built into the system, as the experts only assess studies performed by the producers of the products at stake (they do not perform research themselves). Combine this with excessive workloads, and we can see that to do this job properly is a daunting task. Moreover, parts of these studies are usually kept secret for commercial confidentiality reasons, preventing their integration in the normal work of the scientific community. As a result, it seems that serving on an EFSA panel is neither beneficial nor attractive to build a scientific career, making it harder to find young and independent experts working disinterestedly for the public good.
It is therefore important to point out that what is being assessed here is EFSA's decision-making process in whether to accept or reject given experts on its panels for a public interest mission.



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