MEPs have approved new rules, already agreed with EU ministers, which ensure the EU’s risk assessment procedure for food safety is more reliable, transparent and objective, passing with 603 votes in favour, 17 against and 27 abstentions.
Unfavourable studies will no longer be withheld
The new rules will create a common European Database of commissioned studies to deter companies applying for authorisation from withholding unfavourable studies. This will allow the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to make submitted studies public for third party scrutiny, which may be used to identify whether other relevant scientific data or studies exist, to ensure accuracy.
In addition, to ensure the new rules are transparent, applicants must disclose all information relevant for assessing safety; however, some information, such as the manufacturing or production process, may be kept confidential.
Finally, the new law also supports the implementation of a new pre-submission advisory procedure that enables EFSA to advise applicants on how to submit their application for authorisation correctly, making the process more reliable.
Pilar Ayuso, (EPP,ES), rapporteur, said:
"This agreement enables us to have a decision-making process based on scientific evidence, to guarantee a high level of security and public health in Europe, whilst improving public trust and confidence in the decision-making process by making it more transparent."
The new rules address concerns raised in the European Citizens' Initiative on glyphosate, regarding the transparency of the scientific studies used to evaluate pesticides. It also follows a fitness check of the General Food Law, launched in 2014 and completed in January 2018 by the Commission.
The Council of Ministers now needs to formally approve the text before it can enter into force.