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GM-free private standards and their effects on biosafety decision-making in developing countries

  • Gruère, Guillaume
  • Sengupta, Debdatta

We provide a comprehensive review of international cases where GM-free private standards set up by food companies in developed countries have influenced biosafety policymaking in developing countries. We find 29 cases where private importers have directly or indirectly affected policy decisions in 21 countries. Most of the cases relate irrational fear of export losses to excessively precautionary decisions. These cases are based on two generally misleading premises: the belief that Europe or Japan represents the only market for exports, and the perception that non-GM segregation is infeasible or prohibitively costly in all situations. Our study also demonstrates the importance of information asymmetries across countries and agents and the role of risk aversion in seemingly irrational decision-making. The combination of these four factors helps us explain why presumed but unproven expected commercial losses still represents a significant impediment to biosafety policymaking in developing countries.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 34 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 399-406

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:34:y:2009:i:5:p:399-406
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

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  1. Codron, Jean-Marie & Giraud-Heraud, Eric & Soler, Louis-Georges, 2005. "Minimum quality standards, premium private labels, and European meat and fresh produce retailing," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 270-283, June.
  2. Gruere, Guillaume & Bouet, Antoine & Mevel, Simon, 2007. "Genetically modified food and international trade: The case of India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines," IFPRI discussion papers 740, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Derek Berwald & Colin A. Carter & Guillaume P. Gru�re, 2006. "Rejecting New Technology: The Case of Genetically Modified Wheat," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(2), pages 432-447.
  4. Kym Anderson & Lee Ann Jacskon, 2004. "Some Implications of GM Food Technology Policies for Sub-Saharan Africa," Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers 2004-09, University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies.
  5. Aerni, Philipp & Bernauer, Thomas, 2006. "Stakeholder attitudes toward GMOs in the Philippines, Mexico, and South Africa: The issue of public trust," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 557-575, March.
  6. Jaffee, Steve & Masakure, Oliver, 2005. "Strategic use of private standards to enhance international competitiveness: Vegetable exports from Kenya and elsewhere," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 316-333, June.
  7. Knight, John G. & Mather, Damien W. & Holdsworth, David K., 2005. "Impact of genetic modification on country image of imported food products in European markets: Perceptions of channel members," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 385-398, August.
  8. Paarlberg, Robert L., 2002. "The real threat to GM crops in poor countries: consumer and policy resistance to GM foods in rich countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 247-250, June.
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