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Values Should be Considered in Discussions about GE Products
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: November 22, 2018 12:11PM

The role of genome editing in food and feed production has sparked debates
and discussions among stakeholders. Risk-focused is how researcher Sarah
Bechtold of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany describes these
debates, saying that assessments are confined only within the scientific
definition of risks, which are different from how the public defines risk,
that is, hazards. Thus, in her article published in Frontiers in Plant
Science, she discusses how "risk" is differently viewed between the
scientific community and the general public and that debates that are beyond
these risks is important in the context of genome editing in agriculture.

She elaborates that besides the nature of genome-edited-products, aspects of
cultivation and distribution and their impact on social values should also
be considered and that ethical, social and sustainability-related aspects of
genome editing are also crucial in public acceptance of the technology. In
addition, the target goals and beneficiaries of scientific innovations
widely vary, making it impossible to have a single conclusion and decision
about such technologies as genome editing. Hence, she suggests that multiple
options should be available, especially for consumers. She then asks where
this "plurality" can be implemented and immediately answers the question by
suggesting the use of the labeling system. Through this system, case-by-case
decisions of consumers are allowed, that is, consumers that have not
participated in public discussions about technologies such as genome editing
can freely make a decision independent of the national general mandate.
Nevertheless, scientific facts and advice are not to be neglected in this
system. Instead, the public is free to make individual decisions while being
educated about the products they are buying.


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