10th September 2013
Can a science director at food authority EFSA with an industry background be neutral on science?
The European Food Authority EFSA promoted Ms. Juliane Kleiner to the crucial position of science director just before the summer. Ms. Kleiner used to work for industry lobby group ILSI (International Life Sciences Institute) for over 7 years and defended a long range of industry positions and industry tools such as the "thresholds" for genotoxic carcinogens, TTC, the threshold of toxicological concern for all chemicals, the "human relevance"-tool to disqualify adverse outcome of animal studies, all inititiaves focussed on changing EFSA's policy in favour of industry. She also supported attacks of EFSA's food standards to relax uncertainty factors. This work was done in close cooperation with many industry employees from Nestle, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, etc. and with ILSI-linked scientists who try to hide they are mainly industry consultants and serve industry interests (see Annex on Juliane Kleiner with all details).
During her time at EFSA -next to her job on health claims- Ms. Kleiner continued to support the same industry ideas and continued to work with the same (biased) scientists such as Barlow, Larsen, Renwick, Kroes, Banati, Schlatter, several of which managed to get a seat at EFSA panels and some of them were only recently removed because of conflicts of interests.
Additionally Ms. Kleiner has no research background and never published an experimental study in peer-reviewed scientific journals. It is hard to understand why she would qualify for this position, lacking any experience with laboratory study.
PAN Europe sadly notes that EFSA still has the same positive attitude towards people having served industry's interests as in the past. The previous science director, Mr. Hubert Deluyker, used to work for industry too (Pfizer) and this does not increase the trust in a neutral position of EFSA. While having removed several industry consultants in EFSA's panels as a good first step, PAN Europe feels that EFSA's policy on independance and scientific integrity is still something on the surface and EFSA has a long way to go to get to a real neutral, independent position.
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Annex: Who is Julian Kleiner
For further information please contact:
Hans Muilerman, Tel: +316 55807255, firstname.lastname@example.org