WTO rules that Europe must accept gene-modified food
In other big news today, the WTO ruled that the European Union has to accept genetically modified food, like it or not. More specifically, it ruled that countries that have banned the import of GMOs have broken international trade laws, since such bans have insufficient "scientific basis." This is glorious news for the Bush administration, which is eager to pry open EU markets for America’s copious output of GM crops.
I don’t know all the ins and outs of the ruling; it’s an incredibly complex issue. I believe/hope our resident food expert will be chiming in soon with some more informed commentary.
But on first blush, I tend to think Roger Pielke Jr. has it exactly right:
We might also observe that there is no scientific justification for the following:
*Preventing Iran from having a nuclear research program
*Banning human cloning
*Disallowing performance enhancing drugs in athletics
Decisions about such issues are political decisions based on values, not science. The WTO decision is apparently based on an assumption that EU decision making about GM foods should be based only on a narrow calculus. This is of course a value judgment about what factors should matter and which ones should not in making a decision about GM foods. But shouldn’t citizens in a democracy have the right to make decisions in any which way that they choose?