IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

From Farming to "Pharming". Risks and Policy Challenges of Third Generation GM Crops


  • Armin Spörk


Commercial and academic activities in the production of pharmaceuticals or other substances of industrial interests from genetically modified plants, i.e. molecular farming, have so far centred in the USA and Canada. Recent increases in EU activities and the proximity to market stage of the first plant-made pharmaceuticals, some of which from EU based companies, represent a call to action for EU regulators. Drawing on the North American debate on molecular farming it will be argued that both the rationale of and the risk issues associated with molecular farming will differ significantly from those of first generation GM crops. Based on these differences, the suitability of the existing regulatory framework, which essentially was developed in response to the arrival of insecticide and herbicide tolerant crops for food and feed use, is discussed. Possible options for adapting the already complex EU regulatory system to cater for molecular farming are examined. It will be argued that the policy challenges posed will inevitably spark a broader public debate. As an issue for debate, molecular farming is located at two crossroads: of the risk debate on agricultural biotechnology and the sustainability debate on renewables and greening of industry and of red and green biotechnology. Complex scientific, technical and legal issues, new issues at stake and a new pattern of actors are likely to give EU regulators a difficult time.

Suggested Citation

  • Armin Spörk, 2006. "From Farming to "Pharming". Risks and Policy Challenges of Third Generation GM Crops," ITA manu:scripts 06_06, Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA).
  • Handle: RePEc:ita:itaman:06_06

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ita:itaman:06_06. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Werner Kabelka). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.