Regulating Safety of Novel Food and Genetically Modified Crops

Andrew Bartholomaeus

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The principle of proportionality, embodying concepts of fairness, equity, and consistency, is fundamental to human rights, national and international law, and subordinate regulation. This principle, in theory, provides some limits on the potential unintended consequences that may result from disproportionate regulatory burdens distorting individual and corporate behaviour, the consequences of which may exceed the real or imagined harms the original regulations were intended to prevent. Current regulatory burdens applied in a number of jurisdictions on recombinant DNA technology and the new biotechnologies, however, as opposed to other less precise mechanisms of gene alteration in common use, are applied discriminately, are disproportionate to the known (lack of) plausible food safety risks, are ignorant of the broader knowledge of natural plant genome plasticity, and are consequently ethically highly questionable at best. Although major corporations developing GM crops are arguably beneficiaries of the reduced competition resulting from disproportionate regulatory burdens and their associated costs, this comes at the substantial detriment both to the respective jurisdictions and to developing economies seeking to improve the welfare of disadvantaged communities through the use of advanced plant breeding technologies. Disproportionate regulation of GMOs is consequently risk generating rather than risk mitigating and is contrary to the intent of the precautionary principle. The key principles underlying rational, ethical, risk proportionate regulation of new plant varieties developed by any technique, conventional or otherwise, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Botanical Research
EditorsMarcel Kuntz
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780128094471
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Botanical Research
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
ISSN (Print)0065-2296


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