Economic Note / April 2006
The WTO shown itself recently to be strongly against the “safeguard clauses” adopted between 1997 and 2000 by Germany, Austria, France, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg, aiming at prohibiting for medical reasons the use of certain GMO. In France perhaps more than elsewhere, the debate on GMO is raging since a bill tabled at the senate on 8 February 2006 and two judgments, one in December 2005 and the other in January 2006, discharged GMO reapers in the name of a “state of necessity.” This state would justify the application of the precautionary principle and the destruction of GMO fields to ensure consumer protection.
In the name of this principle, the bill opts for restrictive measurements obliging, among other things, farmers to declare parcels of transgenic plants, to obtain an authorisation before any placement of them on the market and to label their products. Violent actions against the GMO culture as well as discriminatory measures of the bill can only discourage the production of these transgenic organisms of which the real advantages for the majority of consumers are persistently ignored. This culture of precaution can give the illusion of protection and safety. It deprives, in fact, individuals of the many benefits of GMO.