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Food Security: Perception Failures

Consumer resistance to genetically modified (GM) products affects trade relations and reduces private research and development on plant biotechnology.

Year of Publication2010

Perception failure poses an imminent danger to the advancement of science. Consumer resistance to genetically modified (GM) products affects trade relations and reduces private research and development on plant biotechnology. A case in point is the recent rejection of GM eggplant in India, detailed in the News of the Week story by P. Bagla in the same issue (“After acrimonious debate, India rejects GM eggplant,” p. 767). GM technology is not new to India; Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton was first commercialized in India in 2002. Since then, about 5 million farmers have adopted the technology. Thus, negative experiences with GM crops cannot explain the rejection of Bt eggplant. Nor can regulation—India's highest biotechnology regulatory body, The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, approved the Bt eggplant, deeming the technology safe (recounted in Bagla's News story). The major obstacle stemmed not from inadequate technology or strict regulations, but from the public's perception of the technology. Bridging the gap between science and society needs to be a high priority in order to put all currently available science to efficient use in addressing global food security concerns.

Citation

Subramanian, A.; Kirwan, K.; Pink, D. (2010) "Food Security: Perception Failures"Science 328 (5975) pp 173

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Supporting the development of the national rural economy.

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