Competing Knowledge Claims and GMO Assessment by the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board

FNI Report 5/2007. Lysaker, FNI, 2007, 30 p.

This report examines the process of assessing applications for genetically modified (GM) crops or plants for import or commercial planting in Norway. A growing consensus about, and increased rejection of, applications would seem to represent a puzzle as well as an interesting case, as it would go counter to current ‘post-moratorium’ trends in the EU. GMO legislation in Norway is closely linked to the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), to which Norway is a party. A central difference with the EU processes is emanating from specific clauses in the Norwegian Gene Technology Act on ‘sustainable development’ and ‘societal utility’, which provides a wider leverage for Norwegian authorities to turn down the applications. While a high number of rejections may primarily be associated with the low level of malignancy, the increase in robustness and more detailed argumentation may be explained by learning and a growing acceptance of the precautionary principle in this sector. Final decisions are pending and we discuss uncertainties concerning whether Norwegian authorities will apply the specific criteria in the Gene Technology Act.



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