Keywords: biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, food, international standards, Codex Alimientarius
The biotechnological food revolution: exploring the governance issues
Although advocates of genetically modified (GM) crops argue that such technology can enhance food output volumes, critics of the technology raise a number of concerns about the long-term effects of introducing GM inputs into the food chain. This paper reviews the evolution of GM food technology and identifies the scientific risks – to the consumer and the environment – arising from the cultivation of such crops. It then considers the domestic legislative and international governance framework within which GM products are commercialised, highlighting the current conflict between the precautionary EU and the 'substantially equivalent' US approaches to risk assessment. We argue that these fundamentally different approaches are likely to seriously impede attempts to derive global standards for the commercialisation of GM crops and foodstuffs.