Levidow, Les and Carr, Susan
Europeanising advisory expertise: The role of 'independent, objective and transparent' scientific advice in agri-biotech regulation.
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 26(6)
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Since various crises of food safety in the European Union (EU), institutional reforms have been designed to regain public confidence in regulatory decisions and their expert basis. By Europeanising advisory expertise, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was also meant to help harmonise 'science-based regulation' and thus facilitate EU decisions. In evaluating agri-biotech products during 2003-2005, however, the EFSA procedure extended previous expert disagreements rather than overcome them. EFSA was designed to demonstrate that expert advice would be 'independent, objective and transparentï¿½; yet tensions arose between expert experience versus independence, between transparency versus objectivity, and between harmonisation versus precaution. These conflicts have been shaped by the dominant problem-diagnosis, which favours a narrow expert consensus within a specific policy view. Alternative problem-diagnoses suggest that expertise should instead be pluralised, so that norms and uncertainties become more explicit. Pressure for EU reform manifests tensions between the dominant and alternative problem-diagnoses.
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