No more secret experts

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has lost its right to keep the names of contributing expert commentators a secret – a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that could be applied retrospectively.

(A quick one tonight. I’m knackered by the switch to day shift.)

Normally I object to making laws retrospective. You can do something legal today and be fined for it tomorrow when it’s made illegal and backdated to last week. It’s just stupid.

In this case though, I find it hard to object. If the experts were so certain of their advice, why were they afraid to put their names to it?

EFSA said sometimes scientists needed to debate and discuss issues freely “as is normal in the cut and thrust of scientific discourse”.

Yes it is normal, Normal in public meetings and in publicly available published reports. Science does not progress in secret, it progresses through open discussion.

If a scientist knows something really important then that scientist is going to make damn sure they have their name stamped all over it. Otherwise anyone could take the credit. There’s really only one reason a scientist would give advice and not want to be associated with that advice…

They know the advice is a load of made-up bollocks.

So in this case, it’s hard not to agree with it being made retrospective. If the advice was indeed based on sound science then the experts have no reason to be concerned.

If not, well, it’s time to drag them into the light and demand an explanation.

Could be some fun times ahead.


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