Handbook of Biology and Politics
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Handbook of Biology and Politics

Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit

The study of biology and politics (or biopolitics) has gained considerable currency in recent years, as articles on the subject have appeared in mainstream journals and books on the subject have been well received. The literature has increased greatly since the 1960s and 1970s, when this specialization first made an appearance. This volume assesses the contributions of biology to political science. Chapters focus on general biological approaches to politics, biopolitical contributions to mainstream areas within political science, and linkages between biology and public policy. The volume provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the subject.
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Chapter 21: Genetic modification of food: a comparative examination of policy environments

Tony E. Wohlers


Since the 1990s, policymakers in industrialized countries have responded differently to the emergence of genetic modification of agricultural food production in terms of regulatory frameworks. In fact, a biotechnology policy divide has emerged since the 1990s between North America and some countries in South America on the one hand, and many countries in the European Union. While some regulatory adjustments have been proposed in the United States to reflect the increasing skepticism regarding genetically modified food, policymakers within the Food and Drug Administration have continued to encourage the advancement of genetically engineered food. In contrast, the consistent suspicion of genetically modified food as something unnatural coincided with the Europeans’ less favorable assessment of engineered food products and a much more stringent regulatory framework compared to the United States. In other countries like Brazil, a rather inconsistent regulatory framework regarding genetically modified foods has emerged. With that in mind, this study examines the respective policy environments governing the regulation of genetically modified foods in the United States, Brazil and the European Union.

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