Industry responses to the European controversy over agricultural biotechnology

Levidow, L.; Oreszczyn, S.; Assouline, G. and Joly, P.-B. (2002). Industry responses to the European controversy over agricultural biotechnology. Science and Public Policy, 29(4) pp. 267–275.



Since the late 1990s there has been a great increase in the web of stakeholders participating in the public controversy on agricultural biotechnology, for example about genetically-modified (GM) crops. Agricultural supply companies initially played a central role in the policy process at national and European levels. However, public protest led to economic blockages and a regulatory impasse. As in other regulatory sectors, divergent accounts of sustainability underlie the conflicts. As a result of the controversy, innovation priorities have become more accountable to deliberative processes. Companies face the challenge of accommodating or shaping European processes, for example those concerning agricultural development models, environmental values, policy making procedures, and citizens’ participation. Some Europe-based companies may be better placed than those based in the US to develop robust networks across the agro-food chain. However, there remain difficulties for companies in responding to the new policy context and stakeholder roles in this volatile industrial sector.

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