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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Diplomica Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 11.2010
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 96
Abb.: 11
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


The controversial issue of genetically modified (GM) food is discussed in this book. While the United States (US) is a strong supporter of GM technology having adopted a rather lax regulation of trade with GM products, the European Union (EU) is representing a sceptical position towards this new technology and has even imposed a de facto moratorium on further approval of GM products from 1998 to 2004. The purpose of this book is an extensive analysis of the current status on risks and benefits of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and a suggestion on how an appropriate regulation of GM products could be derived. Potential guidelines are provided for policy formulation both in a qualitative and in a quantitative dimension. The US is applying the principle of substantial equivalence, which means that GM products are in their substance identical to products produced by conventional methods. Therefore, no new regulations are necessary for the trade with GM products. In contrast, the European Union (EU) disagrees that GM products are equivalent to their conventional counterparts due to the different production process. Instead, the EU refers to the precautionary principle in its GMO policy, meaning that trade with GM products should be restricted until it will be proven that no additional risks are implied by the use of these products. The divergence of opinions about the right policy to regulate GM products has significant impacts on trade flows and welfare effects. The US and the EU have already tried to resolve their dispute before the World Trade Organization (WTO). Relevant laws of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the WTO are presented as well as indications for a potential consensus.


Text Sample: Chapter 4.2, Scientific findings about risks of GM food: Numerous national and international scientific organizations have reached the conclusion that there are no measurable risks from GM products, amongst which are the American Medical Association (ASA), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) or the WHO. The European Commission refers to various studies such as those of its proper Joint Research Centres and concludes similarly that there are no dangers caused by GMOs for the environment or human health. In contrast, there are authors who argue that studies about the safety of GM products are limited and that risk assessments do not cover all aspects of risk. Pryme and Lembcke found a total of ten studies on the health effects of GM-foods and feeds. They claim that much more scientific effort and investigation is necessary, particularly long-term studies, before introducing GM food on the market. The above mentioned ASA backs up this idea. It has declared that there is a lack of substantial information about the actual effects of GM crops on the environment. Therefore, the crucial point is that available scientific studies do not find significant risks for human health and the environment from genetic modification. However, this fact does not mean necessarily that GM products are safe because studies about GMOs are very scarce. That is why there is no consensus as to the seriousness, or even the existence, of any potential environmental harm or health risk from GM technology. Supporters of GM products argue that in the peer-reviewed scientific literature no dangers of GMOs are reported. Opponents, however, reject this argument by stating that the present number of studies about GMOs has been too small to possibly find any dangers. One reason for the small number of risk studies is that long-term effects might exist that are either beyond our imagination, or that we do not attribute to GM crops due to knowledge gaps on the natural variation occurring in any biological system. Scientists still have an incomplete understanding of physiology, genetics, and nutritional value of genetically engineered crops as well as their integration in ecosystems (Bakshi, 2003). A second reason lies in the lack of technological means to test GMOs for certain risks that we assume theoretically. Profiling techniques, for example, such as ie, DNA micro assays, mRNA profiling techniques, proteonomic, or chemical fingerprints, can be very valuable in increasing the probability of detecting unintended effects of GMOs but are still only applied in few cases. As a result, the current situation, in which policy makers have to decide about the type of regulation for GM products, is characterized by scientific uncertainty. GMO policy against the background of limited scientific findings – qualitative approach The Biosafety Protocol explicitly recognizes that scientific uncertainties exist and that decisions must be taken recognizing that those uncertainties may not be resolved. This is also recognized by the European Commission, which states that the precautionary principle is particularly relevant to the management of risks and risk management should control an identified risk and cover the uncertainties. Having reviewed basic facts in the previous chapters, the crucial question remains: How to deal with scientific uncertainty? This term characterizes situations where hazards associated with an activity are either imperfectly known or cannot be assessed accurately in a probabilistic framework. The search for the best policy to regulate GM products when scientific findings are limited falls in the area of decision theory. In the standard terminology of decision theory its objective is that society decides how to trade off the costs and benefits of a new technology across possible states of the world. Recognizing the challenge of policy makers who struggle to ensure unrestricted trade at the same time as human health and environmental protection, some possible guidelines for developing an appropriate GMO regulation will be presented in this section.

Über den Autor

Marie Kreipe, Master of International Economics, was born in Dresden (Germany) in 1982. She complemented her studies focusing on Finance, International Economic Policy and Econometrics at the University of Tubingen with various working stages in the environmental sector. At the Instituto Nacional de Ecología (National Institute for Ecology), a public research institute in Mexico City (Mexico) she engaged in a study about biofuels and became particularly interested in the field of genetic modification of plants. During her work at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (USA) she became familiar with possible ways of regulating global environmental issues. She completed her Master of International Economics in the year of 2008 and is currently working for the Swedish energy company Vattenfall.

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