EU regulatory conflicts over GM food: lessons for the future

Levidow, Les (2014). EU regulatory conflicts over GM food: lessons for the future. In: Thompson, Paul B. and Kaplan, David M. eds. Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Food Ethics. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media.



Since the 1980s agricultural biotechnology has been promoted as a symbol of European progress and political-economic integration. Policy language has focused on ‘modern biotechnology’, encompassing various techniques, yet policy measures have favoured genetic modification techniques and their products. According to proponents, agbiotech provides a clean technology for enhancing eco-efficient agro-production. By the late 1990s, however, this technological trajectory was stigmatised as suspect. It was being called ‘GM food’, or OGM in Romance languages, or Gen-Müll (garbage) in German, etc. The trajectory became negatively associated with factory farming, its hazards, and unsustainable agriculture. GM products have generally faced commercial and/or regulatory blockages to market access in Europe.

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