More Than a Food Fight

By Moore, Julia A. | Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

More Than a Food Fight


Moore, Julia A., Issues in Science and Technology


If the United States and Europe cannot settle their disagreements over agricultural biotechnology, the fallout will extend far beyond the food business.

From some perspectives, the news for agricultural biotechnology boosters seems good. Latest figures show farmers sowing genetically modified (GM) crops with a vengeance. Over half of the U.S. soybean crop, 25 percent of corn, and over 70 percent of cotton output are from GM seed. In 2000, annual global plantings of transgenic crops exceeded 100 million acres for the first time: an increase of 11 percent over 1999 and a huge gain over the 4 million acres planted in 1996. And finally, in February the European Parliament paved the way for ending Europe's de facto three-year moratorium on new approvals of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by ratifying a revised directive (90/220/EEC) governing their environmental release and commercialization.

Then why do we hear so much doom and gloom in the press? Why is the International Herald Tribune running a page-one story headlined "For Biotech, a Lost War"? Why are two of Britain's top three food retailers announcing that their house-brand meat products will be produced only from animals that do not eat GM feed and that they are committed to offering non-GM dairy products? And what do we make of the Clinton administration's secretary of agriculture's warning to incoming secretary Ann Veneman that GM food will be her top priority. "Biotechnology is going to be thrust on her," according to Dan Glickman, "whether she wants it or not ... like it was on me, big time."

Veneman's counterpart in Germany is Renate Kunast, a newly appointed superminister for food, agriculture, and consumer protection and coleader of the Green Party, who is determined to steer agriculture "back to nature." Her views on GM foods are doubtless consistent with those of fellow Green Party boss and German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, who recently said: "Europeans do not want genetically modified food--period. It does not matter what research shows; they just do not want it and that has to be respected."

Robert Zoellick, President George W. Bush's new trade representative, will have his hands full. The de facto moratorium on approval of new GM foods won't be lifted until after the European Commission formally publishes a whole raft of legislative proposals that include requirements for traceability and labeling of GM products; measures that will take time to develop and that U.S. exporters will find difficult and costly to meet. And immediately after the Parliament's vote on directive 90/220, France and five other European Union (EU) countries issued statements saying they want the moratorium maintained.

When asked about GM crops during the presidential campaign, George W. Bush responded that, "The next president must carry a simple and unequivocal message to foreign governments: We won't tolerate favoritism and unfair subsidies for your national industries. I will fight to ensure that U.S. products are allowed entry into the European Union and that accepted scientific principles are applied in enacting regulations. American farmers are without rival in their ability to produce and compete, and the future prosperity of the U.S. farm sector depends in large part on the expansion of global markets for U.S. products."

Before Zoellick's appointment, business and foreign policy pundits were predicting a major trade collision between the United States and Europe over beef, bananas, and "funny plants"; that is, Europe's exclusion of growth hormone-fed U.S. beef, of bananas produced by American-owned companies in Latin America, and of GM foods. Disturbingly, two of these issues hinge on public attitudes toward science in general and public confidence in government science in particular.

Science and trade

The establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, along with breakneck progress in genomics and information technology, helped place science squarely at the center of international economic forums and controversy.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

More Than a Food Fight
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.