The new Management Board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) held its first meeting today and, as foreseen by the Rules of Procedures, elected the new Chair and two Vice-Chairs.
Before the election, the Board had a thorough discussion on the independence and potential conflict of interest of the Chair and Vice-Chairs. The Board acknowledged that the communication on potential conflict of interests lacked clarity in the course of recent events. The Board deplores the unfounded attacks on the independence of EFSA and its Chair recently reported, and concluded that by no means the integrity of the persons involved could be questioned.
The Board also reiterated that scientific independence is a fundamental principle and a core value of EFSA. Furthermore the Board decided that in order to avoid any misperception of its role, the Chair should refrain from having a management role or other influential roles in organisations representing interests of the food chain, other than public interests. The Board restated that Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Members of the Management Board act independently in the public interest.
The Board elected Professor Diána Bánáti, Director General of the Central Food Research Institute of Hungary. The Board also elected as Vice-Chairs, Sue Davies, Chief Policy Adviser at the UK Consumer Organisation “Which?” and Piergiuseppe Facelli, Head of International Affairs in the Italian Ministry of Health.
Professor Diána Bánáti has resigned from positions which may create a potential conflict of interests with EFSA activities.