Blog: Unbridled backslapping over WTO GM ruling

Catherine Sleep | 8 February 2006

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) this week sided with the US and other countries that support biotechnology by preliminarily ruling that the European Union had contravened WTO trade rules by banning imports of genetically modified food. Cue much chuffed backslapping on the part of US farm, agribusiness, biotechnology industry and government officials.

Yet their victory may be hollow. The moratorium in question actually ended nearly two years ago, so the ruling will trigger no immediate change. While it’s always nice to be told you were right, being right does not translate into sales. Significantly, the ruling has nothing to do with the perceived environmental or food safety of GM crops and ingredients, which is the real stumbling block in convincing European markets to embrace biotechnology.

I suspect that many European consumers’ first response to finding out that the EU Commission’s actions have been deemed improper will be to rush to its defence. Rightly or wrongly, and there is a body of evidence to suggest the latter, many consumers feel deep suspicion towards GM foods and support the cautious approach adopted by their elected representatives.

There's more indepth discussion of the impact of the ruling here:

WTO ruling puts spotlight back on GM


BLOG

Fyffes to face Ethical Trading Initiative disciplinary committee

A year after union officials alleged Fyffes abused workers on plantations in Central America - and called on the produce giant to be kicked out of the Ethical Trading Initiative forum - the company is...

BLOG

Could 3G Capital's next move be in foodservice?

Much of the chatter about where 3G Capital could look next has centred on packaged food - but might the private-equity fund be about to extend its foodservice empire?...

BLOG

Safety allegations could tarnish Mead Johnson's reputation

Headlines that Mead Johnson's board has backed Reckitt Benckiser's takeover bid will no doubt overshadow the other news on the group this week – that it is facing a US lawsuit from a “whistle blower” ...

BLOG

The list of UK's top five grocers has a new member

Kantar Worldpanel issued its monthly supermarket share data in the UK this morning - and the numbers showed a change in the identity of the country's top five food retailers....

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?