Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes
University of Missouri

When it comes to agricultural biotechnology, public policies in the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have been radically different. In the US, products of agricultural biotechnology have been extensively tested and marketed. In the EU, few biotechnology products have received regulatory approval while most have faced a de facto moratorium. The tough regulatory stance of the EU towards agricultural biotechnology has typically been justified on the basis of public skepticism towards the technology and heightened concerns about food safety in the wake of the mad cow disease outbreak and other recent food scares.

Divergent regulations in the EU and the US are not, however, unique to agricultural biotechnology. For instance, the two regions have approached the regulation of beef treated with growth hormones, and the use of antibiotics in animal feed in different ways, despite similar scientific evidence on the safety of such practices. It is therefore useful to place the different ways the EU and the US approach agrifood regulation in a broader context, one where the underlying regulatory philosophies can be considered. In this special issue of AgBioForum, key government officials, industry association representatives, consultants and academic experts present viewpoints and empirical evidence on the forces that drive biotechnology and, more broadly, agrifood regulation in the US and the EU. The papers are based on presentations given at the US-EU Policy Issues in Animal Production symposium hosted by the EU Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2000. Read more . . .