Manufacturing News

U.S. and Europe headed for 'food fight'?

March 22, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
The United States and Europe may be on a collision course over the regulation of genetically modified food, according to government policy advisors speaking at the aptly titled policy dialogue, "Are the U.S. and Europe Heading for a Food Fight over Genetically Modified Food?"

"Both the U.S. and European Union (EU) governments have the same goal regarding food policy: ensuring food and environmental safety," said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, which sponsored the Washington, D.C., event. "However, each government has embarked on a disparate approach to the issue, reflecting different experiences, political philosophies and cultures. As a result, it may be hard to avoid a major 'food fight' over agricultural biotechnology commodities."

U.S. agriculture is particularly concerned about an EU proposal requiring labeling on all food and feed containing or derived from genetically modified organisms. Adopted by the European Commission (EC) and pending in Parliament, the proposal would also require documentation tracing biotech products through each step of grain handling and food production.

David Hegwood, Trade Advisor to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, said, "Our government has an effective regulatory system to ensure the safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology. We believe biotechnology is an important tool that can help to increase food production, preserve natural resources, and improve health and nutrition throughout the world...We believe the EU proposal would disrupt international trade without serving any legitimate food safety or environmental safety objectives."

Tony Van der haegen, Minister-Counselor for Agriculture, Fisheries and Consumer Affairs of the EC said, "Unless we restore EU consumer confidence in this new technology, genetic modification of food is dead in Europe. The Commission's July labeling and traceability proposal is intended to be a first step to increase that confidence."

Van der haegen explained that consumer confidence in GMO products has eroded as a result of past food scares in Europe and poor handling of the biotech issue by industry members. Due to a "crisis of confidence" in science and government, a large percentage of the European public "does not agree with the national and international science and regulatory bodies that deem GMOs safe," added Julia Moore, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "If a trade war is looming, it will not be about food. Rather, it will be about who the public trusts to make choices about 21st century technologies and who they see benefiting from the science."

Fred Yoder, president-elect of the National Corn Growers Association, and a farmer from Plain City, Ohio, noted that while U.S. producers are willing to meet the demands of international customers, the cost segregating conventional and biotech crops as they journey from farm to table will result in higher product prices.

The policy dialogue, one in a series sponsored by the Pew Initiative, was intended to stimulate discussion of differences between Europe and U.S. in regard to genetically modified food.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive

Food Engineering

FE September 2014

2014 September

The September 2014 issue of Food Engineering explores how lean manufacturing, quality improvements and increased automation helps processors meet rapidly changing demands. Also, read how robotics, advanced machine controls, software and OEE are just a few of the tools that can boost productivity on packaging lines.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +