Volume 7, Number 4, Juillet-Août 2000
|Page(s)||361 - 365|
|Section||Dossier : “OGM: expertise et décision publique”|
|Published online||15 July 2000|
RISK MANAGEMENT AND EXPERTISE: UK: Strategies for Precautionary Commercialization of GM Crops
Centre for Technology Strategy, Faculty of Technology, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
As genetically modified (GM) products approach the market stage, the UK government and agro-food industry have faced a suspicious or hostile public. Since 1998 many retail chains have undertaken to exclude any GM-derived ingredients from their own-brand lines. This commercial blockage has intensified pressures for greater precaution, even for a moratorium on cultivating GM crops. Political protest has led to strategies for precautionary commercialization. Government and industry have cooperated to plan a “managed development” of GM crops. Across the agricultural supply chain, industry has devised voluntary guidelines to ensure segregation of GM crops and to limit the spread of GM herbicide-tolerance. In particular UK regulators seek to test the risk that broad-spectrum herbicide sprays could damage wildlife habitats; they have broadened the advisory expertise accordingly. These measures open up the precautionary content to further debate, at both national and EU levels. Market-stage precautions establish a means to test claims that GM crops are environmentally-friendly products. By translating public concerns into broader risk-assessment criteria, the UK procedure involves critics in potentially influencing standards of scientific evidence and environmental harm. This social process has become a prerequisite for legitimizing commercial use.
Key words: genetically modified (GM) crops / precaution / European integration / single market / United Kingdom
© John Libbey Eurotext 2000
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