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Transparency in risk-disproportionate regulation of modern crop-breeding techniques
GM Crops & Food  (IF3.074),  Pub Date : 2021-06-09, DOI: 10.1080/21645698.2021.1934353
Rod A. Herman, Nicholas P. Storer, Jennifer A. Anderson, Firoz Amijee, Filip Cnudde, Alan Raybould

ABSTRACT

Despite over 25 years of safe deployment of genetically engineered crops, the number, complexity, and scope of regulatory studies required for global approvals continue to increase devoid of adequate scientific justification. Recently, there have been calls to further expand the scope of study and data requirements to improve public acceptance. However, increased regulation can actually generate consumer distrust due to the misperception that risks are high. We believe risk-disproportionate regulation as a means to advocate for acceptance of technology is counterproductive, even though some regulatory authorities believe it part of their mandate. To help avoid public distrust, the concept of regulatory transparency to demystify regulatory decision-making should be extended to clearly justifying specific regulatory requirements as: 1) risk-driven (i.e., proportionately addressing increased risk compared with traditional breeding), or 2) advocacy-driven (i.e., primarily addressing consumer concerns and acceptance). Such transparency in the motivation for requiring risk-disproportionate studies would: 1) lessen over-prescriptive regulation, 2) save public and private resources, 3) make beneficial products and technologies available to society sooner, 4) reduce needless animal sacrifice, 5) improve regulatory decision-making regarding safety, and 6) lessen public distrust that is generated by risk-disproportionate regulation.