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Other articles: December 2009

9 December 2009

Other papers this month

No alternative? The politics and history of non-GMO certification

Author(s): Roff RJ
Journal: AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES    Volume: 26    Issue: 4    Sp Issue: Sp. Iss. SI    Pages: 351-363
Abstract: Third-party certification is an increasingly prevalent tactic which agrifood activists use to “help” consumers shop ethically, and also to reorganize commodity markets. While consumers embrace the chance to “vote with their dollar,” academics question the potential for labels to foster widespread political, economic, and agroecological change. Yet, despite widespread critique, a mounting body of work appears resigned to accept that certification may be the only option available to activist groups in the context of neoliberal socio-economic orders. At the extreme, Guthman (Antipode 39(3): 457, 2007) posits that “at this political juncture. ‘there is no alternative.” This paper offers a different assessment of third-party certification, and points to interventions that are potentially more influential that are currently available to activist groups. Exploring the evolution of the Non-GMO Project-a novel certification for foods that are reasonably free of genetically engineered (GE) material-I make two arguments. First, I echo the literature’s critical perspective by illustrating how certification projects become vulnerable to industry capture. Reviewing its history and current context, I suggest that the Non-GMO Project would be better suited to helping companies avoid mounting public criticism than to substantially reorient agrifood production. Second, I explore the “politics of the possible” in the current political economy and argue that while neoliberalization and organizers’ places within the food system initially oriented the group towards the private sector, the choice to pursue certification arose directly from two industry partnerships. Consequently, current trends might favor market mechanisms, but certification is only one possible intervention that has emerged as a result of particular, and perhaps avoidable, circumstances. The article offers tentative delineation of alternatives ways that activists might intervene in agrifood and political economic systems given present constraints.

Assessment of Slovene secondary school students’ attitudes to biotechnology in terms of usefulness, moral acceptability and risk perception

Author(s): Crne-Hladnik H,  Peklaj C,  Kosmelj K, Hladnik A, , Javornik B
Journal: PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE    Volume: 18    Issue: 6    Pages: 747-758

Abstract: Quantitative and qualitative studies among 469 high school students of average age 17 years were conducted. The students’ attitudes to four practical applications of biotechnology were examined: genetically modified plants (Bt corn), genetically modified animals (salmon), and hemophilia germ line and somatic gene therapy. Each of the four applications was examined from three different viewpoints: usefulness, moral acceptability and risk perception. Bt corn production proved to be the most acceptable in terms of both usefulness and risk perception. Values for genetically modified salmon and germ line gene therapy were comparable, but much lower than those for the other two applications; this was true for both usefulness and moral acceptability. In addition, students found genetically modified salmon to be ethically much less acceptable than Bt corn. Significant gender differences were observed in the case of germ line gene therapy and genetically modified salmon.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 December 2009 23:20

    Congratulations on the blog Stuart! It looks great. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  2. 30 December 2010 14:01

    His article is very good, school children have been introduced about genetic engineering, although only be applied on corn and salmon. This can provide more knowledge for future provision.

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