EFSA chief resigns industry position
NOTE: The International Life Science Institute (ILSI) is backed by the world's largest food, tobacco and GM corporations, including Monsanto. The World Health Organization has harshly criticized ILSI over its lobbying activities and restricted its WHO access. The WHO has attacked ILSI's advocacy of "public health policy...counter to accepted nutrition policy" in a wide range of areas, and over its failure to make developing world partners aware of its industry funding base.
Food authority chief resigns industry position
Nature (The Great Beyond), October 25 2010
Diana Banati, the chair of the management board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), who earlier this month found herself at the centre of a controversy over alleged potential conflicts of interest has resigned from the European board of directors of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), a non-governmental organization that is funded by food companies and seeks to coordinate and fund research and risk assessment.
Banati's action was that recommended by Marion Nestle, an expert on nutrition and the food industry at New York University, in a Nature news article on the matter see Food agency denies conflict-of-interest claim who said that were she Banati, "she would resign from the ILSI board."
Banati, director general of Hungary's Central Food Research Institute in Budapest , who was chair of the EFSA management board from October 2008 to 30 June this year, was reelected to the position on 21 October at the first meeting of the new board, whose members were renewed in July. "Professor Diana Banati has resigned from positions which may create a potential conflict of interests with EFSA activities," said an EFSA statement following the meeting.
The statement added that: "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."
In a statement issued yesterday, ILSI says that it "accepts Professor Diana Banati's decision to resign from the ILSI Europe Board of Directors with regret" and reiterated its insistence that ILSI is not a lobbying group.