Policy Choices for Biotech Legislative Enactment: Genetic Modifications in the Food Chain

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Perhaps the highest impact advancements from science over the last half a century are the applications of biology and computer sciences. However, the regulatory aspect of biotechnology is contentious, and it is at a stage of development. This paper covers the current issues on regulatory aspects of genetically modified (GMO) foods, and it examines the regulation of the nations who have biotechnological ability and a history of GMOs for both food and other product crops.

There are some fundamental jurisdictional differences between GMOs and non-GM foods. GMOs are patentable in many jurisdictions, whereas the path to patent for conventional crops is more difficult as many have been in production for decades. A patent gives exclusive rights to a GMO patentee, whereas others do not have this right. Non-GM seeds typically can be planted, replanted, saved, or sold by farmers, but farmers do not have these same rights with GM seeds. GM plants or crops have cross-pollination effects and some say that they contaminate non-GM crops (foods too), which is not usually an issue with non-GM plants.

This paper critically examines regulation on the risk assessment and commercialization process of genetically modified crops/foods in Canada, US and EU. It further looks at related cross-cutting issues such as precautionary principle, labelling GM foods, public participation and transparency in the decision making process and other cross-cutting issues such as co-existence between GM crops and non-GM crops, AP, liability, GM animal; and it discusses policy choices for legislative enactments focusing Canada. It has comparative approach and it offers biotech policy choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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