In 1999 in Britain, it was illegal for genetically engineered (GE) crops to be commercially grown. All GE plantings were part of field tests governed by the biotech companies. In 2000, seven European supermarket chains announced they would not sell genetically modified foods. Three large food multinationals, followed suit.
European consumers in particular, citing potential risks to human health and the environment, have become increasingly militant in their rejection of American food that contains genetically modified grains or soybeans. However in the USA, 70 million acres of GE crops were grown in 1998 alone. Estimates put 60 percent of the American diet consisting of genetically engineered foods, an alarming statistic when surveys show that most Americans don't know what GE food is. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that manufacturers voluntarily consult with the agency before bringing genetically engineered foods to market. However, because these consultations are outside the regulatory system, they are not subject to public scrutiny and are not a satisfactory substitute for a regulatory programme.
The Supreme Court in India has upheld a ban on testing genetically modified crops. Activists in India have set fire to fields of crops suspected of being used for testing.
2. GM products currently benefit their producers rather than consumers.
3. We do not have a comprehensive understanding of the ecological interactions that will enable us to know what particular effect particular GM crops will have or how they will interact with wild relatives.
4. Biotech companies are very keen to push genetically engineered organisms and products on the South. But the threats posed by the technology to the environment, health and livelihoods of farmers are too high in the midst of great uncertainties and absence of regulatory rules.
5. The USA administration has been subject to regulatory capture. Because of the revolving door policy between the US government and the biotech companies, the situation is out of control. There is no longer an independent arbiter; it is in the hands of the people who stand to profit. The American government is acting as a marketing device for the biotech companies, Monsanto in particular.
2. The European regulatory framework is not more or less safe than that of the USA. It's just that Americans put blind faith in the FDA and don't question it enough.