10th EFSA anniversary: Two-day farmers and citizens initiatives

Parma, Italy, Friday 9th November – Campaigners and farmers have joined forces to organise two days of action against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 12th and 13th November, challenging industry bias and reclaiming real food safety.

Organised by FIRAB, the Italian anti-GMO Task Force, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), the events take place as EFSA marks its 10th anniversary and will start with a conference on Monday 12th November, looking at the science and politics of EFSA. On Tuesday 13th November there will be a flash mob outside the EFSA building at 10.30am.

EFSA was established 10 years ago, following the mad cow disease scandal, to ensure EU-wide scientific oversight and effective risk management. Its work directly impacts 500 million European citizens, 12 million farms, and a vast number of processing and catering businesses within the EU. It is a composite and complex universe of companies that produce, manipulate and trade foods very different in origin, nature and purpose.

EFSA has come under increasing criticism because of considerable industry bias which benefits the agro-industrial production system, but does not necessarily ensure quality, nutritious and healthy food.
Further concerns have been raised by blatant conflicts of interest at different levels (from the Board to the Scientific Panels), impairing the objectivity of the Authority decision-making process.

Nina Holland from Corporate Europe Observatory said: “So far, there are too many questions and doubts about EFSA’s impartiality. The fact that industry is allowed to carry out safety tests for its own products means that the European food safety system is highly flawed.”

“The autonomy and plurality of the much needed scientific information to support decisions on food safety and environmental risks require that EFSA behaves like a glass house with no industrial shadows on its business” adds Luca Colombo, Secretary General of the Italian Foundation for Research in Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture.
“The recent Seralini study has undermined the persistent argument of the agro-industry that GM plants are safe” -concludes Andrea Ferrante, Italian member of the European Coordination Via Campesina. “Millions of small farmers and rural communities are currently economically and health-wise damaged by the use of GMOs and herbicides”

The two days of activities will include:
·         a scientific&political conference on 12th November at the Aula Magna of the Economy Faculty – University of Parma (Via Kennedy 6) with farmers, activists, scientists, and European politicians such as José Bové and Monica Frassoni.
·         a flash mob on 13th November from 10.30 in front of the EFSA building (Via Carlo Magno 1A, Parma) with photo opportunity and press conference.
For more information about the conference, please contact:
Luca Colombo, FIRAB, l.colombo@firab.it , tel: +39 348 39 88 618
Nina Holland, CEO, nina@corporateeurope.org, tel: +31 630 285 042

For more information about manifestation, please contact:
Andrea Ferrante, Via Campesina Italy, a.ferrante@aiab.it, tel: +39 348 01 89 221