Last week, the EU-focused news outlet EU Reporter published an important article on the consequences of science and politics clashing in Europe. Formaldehyde’s use in animal feed to protect against salmonella and other deadly pathogens – currently ‘deadlocked’ in Brussels – was highlighted as a clear example of politics hampering science-based regulation and leading to harmful results for consumers.

In the article, journalist Martin Banks writes that:

  • The safety of the food chain is under the spotlight in Europe, raising profound questions about the interactions between science and politics, and political ‘wrangling’ is leading to results that are harmful to consumers.
  • The reauthorisation of formaldehyde in feed is a prime example of this: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the compound does not pose a health risk for consumers exposed to the substance through the food chain, and could be authorised as a feed additive as long as worker protection measures were taken.
  • Nevertheless, the findings of EFSA have been called into question, and the Commission has had a hard time re-approving the use of the substance.
  • The consequences of this were quick to follow. Weeks after Poland gave its order to take formaldehyde off the market, a widespread salmonella outbreak – traced to a Polish farm – led to the deaths of two people
  • “The formaldehyde issue illustrates the potentially deadly consequences of poorly thought-out decision-making based on anything other than hard scientific evidence”

 

You can read the full article in EU Reporter here: https://www.eureporter.co/frontpage/2017/05/19/efsa-food-safety-politics-and-science-simply-cannot-mix/