Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Substantial Equivalence

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_304



The expression “substantial equivalence” stands for a key concept introduced to evaluate the risks and the means of production and consumption of novel foods. In particular, the concept has famously been employed to evaluate the risks for human health of consuming genetically modified (GM) foods, that is, of genetically modified organisms raised for human consumption as well as foods that contain these organisms as ingredients (cfr. Andrée 2007; Gupta 2013; Shahin 2007). In a nutshell, that the GM food is substantially equivalent to its non-GM (“natural”; see entry on “Metaphysics of Natural Food”) counterpart is an important reason to regard the GM food as safe to be consumed.

For instance, if a variety of GM corn is substantially equivalent to the non-GM corn variety from which it was engineered, then the GM corn is likely to be considered as safe to be consumed as the non-GM counterpart. Derivatively, and more generally, the doctr...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly