Genetically Modified Organisms and the WTO: Picking the Wrong Fight

Transatlantic trade rows are legendary – beef and bananas are being followed by a dispute over genetically modified food. In the acrimonious climate after the Iraq invasion, Washington challenged a European ban through the World Trade Organization. Now the WTO may become the loser in a fight few believe America can really win.

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 August 2003 4 minute READ

Dr Robert Falkner

Research Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, LSE

Genetic engineering in agriculture and food production is a highly politicised and emotionally charged issue, especially in Europe. Calls for stricter regulations and labelling on genetically modified (GM) food are on the rise in the United States and Canada too. Consumer groups and environmentalists object to the use of the new technology because of fears for biological diversity and human health.

Concerns have been raised about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) containing toxins; causing allergies; or contributing to antibiotic resistance.

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