The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has insisted it acted properly in the case of Dr Suzy Renkens, a former senior official engaged in GMO affairs who took up a job with the Swiss GM company Syngenta months after leaving the EU agency.

The move has drawn criticism from Germany-based biotechnology expert group Testbiotech.

"This move to industry poses a considerable problem for the EFSA. It has become apparent that even staff members in leading positions are unable to distance themselves from industry," Testbiotech executive director Christoph Then said.

However, the EFSA's Steve Pagani told just-food that EU regulations stipulate that "former members intending to engage in an occupation, whether gainful or not, within two years of leaving the service are under a legal obligation to inform their institution," and that "Ms Renkens verbally informed EFSA of her new appointment."

Although EFSA then had the right to "take appropriate action", the authority accepted Dr Renkens' assurances about her move and determined that this was unnecessary.

Syngenta said it "accepts the regulatory processes in the EU and elsewhere and fully complies with the respective procedures."