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EFSA head votes Yes in our poll - the agency should block its staff from taking up revolving door jobs

By Jane Byrne , 16-Dec-2011
Last updated on 16-Dec-2011 at 17:32 GMT

EFSA should prohibit its staff from taking up 'revolving door' jobs, finds poll
EFSA should prohibit its staff from taking up 'revolving door' jobs, finds poll

Poll results: 66% of readers say the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) should block its staff from taking up ‘revolving door’ jobs …. and the head of the EU risk assessor agrees.

Executive Director of EFSA, Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, voted a ‘Yes’ on behalf of the Parma-based agency in our survey asking readers whether the EU risk assessor should be more thorough in ensuring there was no conflict of interest in cases of its former staff moving to private sector jobs.

The boss of the Authority said she voted that way “because it is important to stress that EFSA wants to avoid all potential conflicts of interest in connection with staff leaving EFSA and taking up employment in any so-called ‘revolving door’ cases.

In an emailed statement to FoodNavigator.com, Geslain-Lanéelle added that EFSA has revised and strengthened its internal rules since 2008-2009 to “regulate conflicts of interest, to allow for mitigating measures, and generally to address matters relating to ethics and integrity" in relation to its personnel.

In light of this, continued the executive director, one former member of staff has taken up employment with the non-profit Nanotechnologies Industries Association and “is subject to conditions requiring him not to contact his former EFSA colleagues or external experts on the relevant subject matter for one year from taking up the assignment.”

Yesterday saw the management board of EFSA adopting the agency’s new policy on independence and scientific decision-making processes. The policy, said Geslain-Lanéelle, is intended to strengthen the way the Authority can assure independence and transparency in its work.

There were 178 respondents to our poll. 66% of those who voted agreed that there was a conflict of interest in former heads of EFSA units going into the private sector where there was a direct link with their previous regulatory role. 34% of survey participants were of the contrary opinion.

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