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To Label Or Not To Label: Leveling The Trading Field

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Chapter Summary

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become a contentious issue mainly because of the potential risk that they pose to human health and the environment despite their obvious benefits. This chapter explores the debate surrounding GMO labeling and proposes that labeling should be imposed only as the result of an international labeling agreement. It provides a short summary of the nature of GMOs-what they are and what health risks they might pose to consumers and the environment. Then it examines the current labeling of GMOs in the European Union and the United States, as well as the reasons for and against labeling from each perspective. The chapter also addresses why the unilateral imposition of GMO labeling would disrupt international agricultural trade and violate World Trade Organization (WTO) principles. It proposes that an international agreement on labeling is needed to resolve the labeling debate. Finally, it recapitulates the main issues.

Keywords: European Union; genetically modified organisms (GMOs); human health; international agricultural trade; international labeling agreement; United States; World Trade Organization (WTO)



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