Chapter

Eating Risk

Julie Guthman

in Engineering Trouble

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520237612
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520237612.003.0006
Eating Risk

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This chapter discusses how the politics of consumption can both enliven and eviscerate broad public participation in technological decision making. It explores the current U.S. regulation of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) by describing the discursive terrain on which the battles are being fought and then providing a brief history of the existing regulatory impasse. The chapter also reviews the labeling and the lessons to be learned from the regulation of organic products. Both the Carter and Reagan administrations were strongly committed to rapid technological development as a vehicle for economic recovery, and they provided substantial tax incentives for investment in biotechnology. GEO labeling has the potential to replicate many of the pitfalls of organic regulation. Regulations must restrict supply not only by maintaining barriers to entry but also by prohibiting substitutes. Genetic engineering technologies do not exist in a vacuum but reflect deeper tendencies in the industrialization of agriculture itself.

Keywords: genetically engineered organisms; labeling; organic regulation; tax incentives; genetic engineering; consumption; U.S. regulation; discursive terrain

Chapter.  10282 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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