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TitleEco Crime and Genetically Modified Food
TagsPlant Breeding Genetically Modified Organism Monsanto Genetics
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Eco Crime and Genetically Modified Food

The GM debate has been ongoing for over a decade, yet it has been
contained in the scientific world and presented in technical terms. Eco Crime
and Genetically Modified Food brings the debates about GM food into the
social and criminological arena.

Eco Crime and Genetically Modified Food highlights the criminal and
harmful actions of state and corporate officials. It concludes that corporate
and political corruption, uncertain science, bitter public opposition, growing
farmer concern and bankruptcy, irreversible damage to biodiversity, corpo-
rate monopolies and exploitation, disregard for social and cultural practices,
devastation of small scale and local agricultural economies, imminent threats
to organics, weak regulation and widespread political and biotech mistrust –
do not provide the bases for advancing and progressing GM foods into the
next decade. Yet, with the backing of the WTO, the US and UKGovernments
march on – but at what cost to future generations?

Reece Walters is Professor in Criminology, and Head of the Social Policy
and Criminology Department at The Open University. He has published
widely on the politics and governance of criminological knowledge, including
Deviant Knowledge – Criminology, Politics and Policy and Critical Thinking
about the Uses of Research (with Tim Hope).

Page 88

Chapter 5

Regulatory regimes
Ensuring safety or enhancing profits?


Thus far, this book has explored the origins and politics of GM food, con-
troversies surrounding science, the role of public opinion and the political
economy of GM food trade. Attention is now turned to legal and regulatory
structures that govern GM technologies, production and distribution. This
analysis, in the first instance, necessitates turning back the clock to examine
the ways in which politics and vested interests have been integrally entwined
and embedded in the debates and subsequent controls of genetics and food
production in the UK.

Issues pertaining to genetics and plant breeding have a long history in the
UK. Non-transgenic breeding (that is, the cross pollination of plants within
a single species or of two species within the same genus) has occurred among
farmers and botanists for hundreds of years. It is not the intention here to
rehearse those developments; instead this chapter commences by tracing
some of the political and scientific developments throughout the twentieth
century that shaped international debates and domestic policy around plant
breeding and genetic manipulation of food production. In doing so, it seeks
to understand and contextualise existing regulatory arrangements. Moreover,
this chapter will critically examine the existing legal regimes (both domestic
and international) that regulate the production of GM food using archival
documents and those obtained under the Official Information Act.

Historical reflections1

In the introduction to this volume it was noted that the first genetically
modified food was made available for public consumption in the US in 1994.
Yet plant breeding and genetics has a much longer history. There are several
points at which one could chart specific intellectual and political currents
and explore how such movements have influenced the direction of genetic
technology. In this section what follows is what Foucault (1980) referred to
in his Questions of Method as ‘eventalization’, an intelligibility that seeks to

Page 173

privatisation 51, 62
Procureur du Roi v Dassonville 93
profit 47–49, 79–103
promotion of antimicrobials 35
prosecution of corporations 18–21
prospects of GM food 23–50
public criminology 6
Public Interest Litigation 19
public opinion 51–63, 104
public participation 50, 58–62

Quest nicotine-free cigarettes 74
Questions of Method 79

racism 107
rationing 80
Rawls, John 106
RCEP see Royal Commission on
Environmental Pollution

recession 8
reduction in biodiversity 37–38
regulatory regimes 79–103; concluding
comment 102; GM food laws and
regulations 89–102; historical
reflections 79–89; introduction 79

Reiman, Jeremy H. 18, 106
rejection of GM food 69–71; see also

resistance 33–37; antibiotic 21, 30,
33–37; to insects/disease 9–11, 31

restorative justice 118
rice 4, 13, 20, 32–33; golden rice 32–33
Rice, Condoleeza 52
The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get
Prison 18, 106

Rift Valley 20
Rio Declaration 89, 119
risk 29–43, 51–63, 68–75; governance

and public participation 58–62;
untangling risks 29–43

risk assessment 26
Risk Society: Towards a New
Modernity 58–59

risk theory 58–60
Rockefeller Foundation 32, 36
Roundup 10, 40, 46
Roundup Ready Alfalfa 40
Royal Commission on Environmental
Pollution 88–89

Royal Commission on Genetic
Modification (NZ) 10, 41, 47, 60, 126

Royal Institute of International Affairs 3
Royal Society 25, 27, 81–82
Russian Academy of Sciences 34

safety 27, 29–43, 79–103, 117; ensuring
79–103; unravelling controversies

Sainsbury’s 12
scepticism 24
‘scientific citizens’ 51–58, 61;

international public opinion 54–55;
UK GM food debate 55–58

scientific impropriety 23
Second World War 80
Securities and Exchange Commission
(US) 19

seed police 49
Seeds of Deception 26
Seeds of Distrust 61
self-regulation 20
sewerage 15
shareholder community 29
Shaw, George Bernard 113
Shrimp Turtle case 94
silent tsunami 1
Smith, Geoffrey 26
social ecology 17–18
‘soft power’ 108
Soil Association 40, 63
soil erosion 8, 40, 45
solutions to world hunger 1–2, 5, 25,
30–32, 43, 49, 76–77, 110

soybeans 3, 9, 11, 18–19, 34, 36–39, 43,
46, 56

speciesism 107
Starlink corn 20, 23
starvation 1, 4, 58–59, 65, 71–72
Stockholm Declaration 89
subsistence farming 32, 44
sugar beet 20, 39, 41
superweeds 21, 38, 40–41
sustainability 111, 115, 119
swine flu 1
Syngenta 12, 18, 20, 55

techniques used in GM food

terms used in GM 7–22
terrain of GM 7–22
terrorism 21, 59, 66
Tesco 12
theory of denial 108
A Theory of Justice 106
There Ain’t no Black in the Union
Jack 106

third world hunger 64–78; see also
hunger; world hunger

tobacco 2, 9, 73–74, 124

164 Index

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