The Open UniversitySkip to content

Genetically modified crops in the European Union: regulatory conflicts as precautionary opportunities

Levidow, Les; Carr, Susan and Wield, David (2000). Genetically modified crops in the European Union: regulatory conflicts as precautionary opportunities. Journal of Risk Research, 3(3) pp. 189–208.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The first genetically modified crops and foods to be approved for commercial use in the European Union have prompted intense controversy. Food retailers and processors have been forced to take up the concerns voiced by their customers. New networks of groups have formed to oppose the technology. In response to these pressures, regulators who approved the products have had to reconsider questions they had previously dismissed or officially resolved. Governments have devised more precautionary measures of various kinds. For example, they have increased the burden of evidence for demonstrating safety, have broadened the practical definition of the ‘adverse effects’ which must be prevented, and have devised marketstage precautions for such effects. These extra measures manage the risk debate as well as any risks. In such ways, the technocratic model of European harmonization is being challenged and superseded. This may allow differences in national practices to be viewed as valuable expert resources for a different harmonization model, rather than as deviations from a universal rational norm. Regulatory conflicts offer precautionary opportunities, which could lead to more flexible and democratic procedures. Theoretical perspectives – on risk, uncertainty, precaution, European integration, expertise and the internal market – help illuminate these possibilities.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1366-9877
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Computing & Communications
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 11202
Depositing User: Users 4181 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2008 06:49
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2016 17:02
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340