Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

EU Regulatory Conflicts over GM Food: Lessons for the Future

  • Les Levidow
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_359-2



Since the 1980s agricultural biotechnology has been promoted as a symbol of European progress and political-economic integration. Policy language has focused on “modern biotechnology,” encompassing various techniques, yet policy measures have favored genetic modification techniques and their products. According to proponents, agbiotech provides a clean technology for enhancing eco-efficient agro-production. By the late 1990s, however, this technological trajectory was stigmatized as suspect. It was being called “GM food,” or OGM in Romance languages or Gen-Müll (garbage) in German. The trajectory became negatively associated with factory farming, its hazards, and unsustainable agriculture. GM products have generally faced commercial and/or regulatory blockages to market access in Europe.

In the 1990s controversy over agbiotech in the European Union (EU), proponents criticized opponents for unfairly targeting or blaming a benign...


European Union European Union Member State Economic Competitiveness Democratic Accountability Objective Imperative 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK