Product review for GM Food on Trial: Testing European Democracy (Genetics and Society)
Europe was told that it had no choice but to accept agbiotech, yet this imperative was turned into a test of democratic accountability for societal choices. Since the late 1990s, European public controversy has kept the agri-biotech industry and its promoters on the defensive. As some opponents and regulators alike have declared, ‘GM food/crops are on trial’. Suspicion of their guilt has been evoked by moral symbols, as disputes over whether genetically-modified products are modest benign improvements on traditional plant breeding, or dangerous Frankenfoods; and in disputes over whether they are global saviours, or control agents of multinational companies. This book examines European institutions being ‘put on trial’ for how their regulatory procedures evaluate and regulate GM products, in ways which opened up alternative futures. Levidow and Carr highlight how public controversy created a legitimacy crisis, leading to national policy changes and demands, in turn stimulating changes in EU agbiotech regulations as a strategy to regain legitimacy.