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Industry responses to the European controversy over agricultural biotechnology

Levidow, L   Oreszczyn, S   Assouline, G   Joly, P

Science and Public Policy   29 (4) 267-275

January 2002

Since the late 1990s there has been a great increase in the web of stakeholders participating in the public controversy on agricultural biotechnology, for example, about genetically-modified (GM) crops. Agricultural supply companies initially played a central role in the policy process at national and European levels, but public protest led to economic blockages and a regulatory impasse. Divergent accounts of sustainability underlie the conflicts. As a result of the controversy, innovation priorities have become more accountable to deliberative processes. Companies face the challenge of accommodating or shaping European processes, such as those concerning agricultural development models, environmental values, policy-making procedures, and citizens' participation. There are difficulties for companies in responding to the new policy context and stakeholder roles in this volatile industrial sector.