The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has revised the rules governing “Declarations of Interest” as part of its ongoing effort to increase openness and transparency. Effective September 30, 2014, the updated rules clarify how the agency uses such declarations “to prevent the occurrence of conflicts of interest among the members of its governance bodies and its staff,” including those serving on EFSA’s Management Board, Advisory Forum, Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, and Working Groups, as well as external experts, observers, tenderers, and grant beneficiary participants.
Among other things, the new rules specify that a “food safety organization” “must receive more than 50% of its funding from public sources.” They also provide “a precise definition of what is meant by family members, namely spouses, registered partners and dependent descendants,” in addition to making annual Declarations of Interest “obligatory for all staff members.”
“EFSA is committed to reviewing its policies and procedures to ensure they remain fit for purpose,” states the agency in a July 31, 2014, news release. “The next important step in this direction will be the more strategic review of EFSA’s Policy on Independence and Scientific Decision-Making Processes, which will begin in 2015.”