The Risks of Going Non-Gmo

Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 4, Winter 2000
Drew L. Kershen – University of Oklahoma – College of Law


In light of the STARLINK(R) incident, food companies may think of avoiding transgenic crops altogether as a source of food ingredients. This article discusses three risks that accompany the decision not to use products of agricultural biotechnology. Risk One is the Risk of Legal Liability for Damages. Legal Liability may arise through product liability for design defect in the food. Legal liability may also arise through contribution and indemnity for worker safety and environmental damages through agronomic practices that create additional hazards in comparison to agricultural biotechnology crops. Risk Two is the Risk of Environmental Compliance. Food companies may be held responsible by environmental agencies for increased environmental harms caused by non-transgenic crop production. Moreover, environmental agencies may adopt technology-forcing regulations and agricultural biotechnology may be the best available technology. Risk Three is the Risk of Scientific Ignorance. Making public policy about agricultural biotechnology based on scientific misinformation creates both a societal and moral risk domestically and internationally.

Keywords: Agriculture, biotechnology, legal liability, environmental liability, risk, scietific ignorance

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