WVU College of Law
The WTO system requires that trade restrictions meant to protect health and safety be based on a risk assessment supported by “sufficient scientific evidence.” Scholars and international standards organizations have pointed out, however, that science is incapable of providing answers to questions of health and safety without incorporating the risk assessors’ value judgments and assumptions. Before GMO-importing countries conduct risk assessments, GMO-producing and exporting countries have already conducted their own risk assessments, which led to their decision to produce and market the products in the first place. Both the exporting and importing countries’ risk assessments employ science informed by the risk assessors’ value judgments and assumptions. Scrutinizing the exporting and importing countries’ risk assessments, and making their value judgments explicit would level the playing field between GMO-producing and GMO-importing nations in the WTO. Instead of tacitly adopting the GMO-producing country’s value judgments, GMO-importing countries might highlight their distinct, but situationally appropriate, judgments, and defend their risk assessments as supported by scientific evidence informed by those context-appropriate judgments.
Original Publication Title
Boston University International Law Journal
Digital Commons Citation
Peck, Alison, "Leveling the Playing Field in GMO Risk Assessment: Importers, Exporters, and the Limits of Science" (2010). Law Faculty Scholarship. 58.
28 Boston U. Int'l L.J. 241