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From Mad Cows to GMOs: The Side Effects of Modernization

  • Patricia A. Stapleton (a1)
Abstract

Ulrich Beck's Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity provides a lens through which we can analyze contemporary debates over risk regulation of agricultural biotechnology. This article establishes the political and cultural context into which genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were introduced in the European Union, by reviewing the HIV-contaminated blood scandal, mad cow crisis, and dioxin contamination episode. These public health and food safety scandals exemplify the side effects of modernization as outlined by Beck. Beck also predicted the development of a solidarity arising from the public's anxiety over the global distribution of modernization's risks. The impact of these cases on risk regulation illustrates the political and social reaction to the invisible, global risks of late modernity. The subsequent response to this reaction in European risk regulation further demonstrates the tension between a globalizing market and public anxiety in risk society.

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1 Beck, Ulrich, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (London: Sage Publications, 1992).

2 Beck, Risk Society, supra note 1, at p. 22-23. Italics in original.

3 Beck, Risk Society, supra note 1, at p. 24.

4 Beck, Risk Society, supra note 1, at p. 23.

5 Beck, Risk Society, supra note 1, at p. 32.

6 Beck, Risk Society, supra note 1, at p. 49.

7 Orsini, Michael, “Reframing Medical Injury? Viewing People With Hemophilia as Victims of Cultural Injustice,” 16.2 Social & Legal Studies (2007), pp. 241 et sqq., at p. 245.

8 L’Affaire du sang contaminé is the French phrase used to denote the HIV-tainted blood scandal. Though the contamination and cover up occurred in the 1980s, it was not until the early 1990s that the French public became aware of the situation. L’Affaire du sang contaminé usually refers to the time period from when the first policy decisions that would impact the regulation of tainted blood were made (1983) until the last judicial rulings in the resulting courts cases were entered (2002).

9 Ibid.

10 Marlise Simons, “France Convicts 3 in Case of H.I.V.-Tainted Blood,” The New York Times, 24 October 1992.

11 Feldman, Eric A., “Blood Justice: Courts, Conflict, and Compensation in Japan, France, and the United States,” 24.3 Law and Society Review (2000), pp. 651 et sqq., at p. 660.

12 Ibid.

13 Trebilcock, Michael, Howse, Robert, Daniels, Ron, “Do Institutions Matter? A Comparative Pathology of the HIV-Infected Blood Tragedy,” 14.8 Virginia Law Review (1996), pp. 1407 et sqq., at p. 1418.

14 Chauveau, Sophie, L’Affaire du sang contaminé (1983-2003) (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2011), at p. 19 .

15 Chauveau, L’Affaire du sang contaminé, supra note 14, at p. 16.

16 Ibid.

17 Alan Riding, “Ex-French Officials Go on Trial in AIDS Case,” The New York Times, 25 June 1992.

18 Simons, “France Convicts 3,” supra note 10.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22 Trebilcock et al., “Do Institutions Matter?” supra note 13, at p. 1452; see also Feldman, “Blood Justice,” supra note 11, at p. 663, note 10.

23 Simons, “France Convicts 3,” supra note 10.

24 Hood, Christopher and Jones, David K.C., “Liability and blame: pointing the finger or nobody's fault,” in Hood, and Jones, (eds.), Accident and Design: Contemporary debates in risk management (London: Routledge, 1996/2002), pp. 46 et sqq., at p. 46.

25 N.A., “Blood scandal ministers walk free,” BBC News, 9 March 1999, Section: World: Europe.

26 For examples, see: Ansell, and Vogel, , eds., What's the Beef? The Contested Governance of European Food Safety (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006); Holland, Debra and Pope, Helen, EU Food Law and Policy (The Hague: Kluwer International Law, 2004); Chalmers, Damian, “‘Food for Thought’: Reconciling European Risks and Traditional Ways of Life,” 66.4 The Modern Law Review (2003), pp. 532 et sqq.

27 Sophie Chauveau, from interview, 30 January 2012.

28 Steffan, Monika, “The Nation's Blood. Medicine, Justice, and the State in France,” inFeldman, and Bayer, (eds.), Blood Feuds. AIDS, Blood, and the Politics of Medical Disaster (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 95 et sqq., at p. 121.

29 Steffan, “The Nation's Blood,” supra note 28, at p. 123.

30 Chauveau, interview, supra note 27.

31 Lledo, Pierre-Marie, Histoire de la vache folle (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2001), at p. 37 .

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid.

34 Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 36.

35 Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 37.

36 Beck, Matthias, Asenova, Darinka, and Dickson, Gordon, “Public Administration, Science, and Risk Assessment: A Case Study of the U.K. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Crisis,” 65.4 Public Administration Review (2005), pp. 396 et sqq., at p. 400.

37 Beck et al., “Public Administration, Science, and Risk Assessment,” supra note 36, at p. 401.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 “On this day: May 16, 1990: Gummer enlists daughter in BSE fight.” BBC News. 16 May 1990.

43 Reibel, Sophie, Encéphalopathie Spongiforme Bovine. Épidémiologies et Implications (Paris: Polytechnica, 1994), at pp. 130131 . All translations from French are author's own.

44 Reibel, Encéphalopathie Spongiforme Bovine, supra note 43, at p. 131.

45 Vogel, David, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited: The New Politics of Consumer and Environmental Regulation in Europe,” 33.4 British Journal of Political Science (2003), pp. 557 et sqq., at p. 569.

46 Vogel, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited,” supra note 45, at p. 569.

47 Michael White, “Dorrell says he regrets giving ‘no risk’ advice,” The Guardian, 28 October 2000.

48 Raude, Jocelyn, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire. Les consommateurs à l’épreuve de la maladie de la vache folle (Paris: Lavoisier, 2008), at p. 7 .

49 Beck et al., “Public Administration, Science, and Risk Assessment,” supra note 36, at p. 402.

50 Balter, Michael, “Tracking the Human Fallout from ‘Mad Cow Disease,’” 289 Science (Sep. 1, 2000), pp. 1452 et sqq., at p. 1453.

51 Balter, “Tracking the Human Fallout,” supra note 59, at p. 1453

52 Beck et al., “Public Administration, Science, and Risk Assessment,” supra note 36, at p. 402.

53 Raude, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire, supra note 48, at p. 7.

54 Freeman, Heather Berit, “Trade Epidemic: The Impact of the Mad Cow Crisis on EU-U.S Relations,” 25 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. (2002), pp. 343 et sqq., at p. 351.

55 Beck et al., “Public Administration, Science, and Risk Assessment,” supra note 36, at p. 399.

56 Raude, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire, supra note 48, at p. 7; Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 39.

57 Beck et al., “Public Administration, Science, and Risk Assessment,” supra note 36, at p. 401.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid.

60 Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 39.

61 Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 40.

62 Raude, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire, supra note 48, at p. 7.

63 Ibid.

64 Ibid.

65 Balter, “Tracking the Human Fallout,” supra note 50, at p. 1452. In actuality, as of April 2015, The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Research & Surveillance Unit (NCJDRSU) – an organization created by the UK government to track vCJD – had confirmed 229 cases worldwide. The overwhelming amount (177 cases or approximately 77% of the total) were in the UK. France had the second highest rate with 27 confirmed cases or approximately 12% of the total. The remaining 25 cases are spread out over ten countries. NCJDRSU, “Variant CJD Cases Worldwide,” available on Internet at < http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/report22.pdf > (last accessed 25 October 2015).

66 Raude, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire, supra note 48, at p. 7-8. Raude illustrates the media's presentation with headlines from that time: “La grande peur de la vache folle” (“The Great Fear of Mad Cow”) from the November 8, 2000 issue of Le Monde; “Un climat de psychose” (“A Psychotic Atmosphere”) from the November 10, 2000 issue of Le Parisien; and “Panique sur le bœuf” (“Panic over Beef”) from the November 17, 2000 issue of France Soir.

67 Barry James, “Europe's Spreading Food Scare: Untangling the Deadly ‘Mad Cow’ Mystery,” New York Times, 7 December 2000.

68 Brown, Paul, “Mad-Cow Disease in Cattle and Human Beings: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy provides a case study in how to manage risks while still learning the facts,” 92.4 American Scientist (2004), pp. 334 et sqq., at p. 334.

69 Balter, “Tracking the Human Fallout,” supra note 50, at p. 1453; Brown, “Mad-Cow Disease in Cattle and Human Beings,” supra note 68, at p. 339.

70 Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 15.

71 Brown, “Mad-Cow Disease in Cattle and Human Beings,” supra note 68, at p. 339.

72 Known in French as matériaux risque spécifiés (MRS), in the context of the BSE crisis, specified risk materials are tissues such as the brains, eyes, spine, and marrow of infected animals that were identified as posing a higher risk of infection.

73 Catherine Coroller, “Saines mises à mort dans les abattoirs. L’abattage par jonchage, facteur possible de contamination de l’ESB, sera interdit,” Liberation, 15 March 2000.

74 AFSSA, Nutrition et risques alimentaires. Vos questions sur… oméga 3, iode, allergies, sucre, vache folle, soja, promesses santé, eau… les scientifiques répondent (Évreux: Les Presses de Kapp, 2005), at p. 56 .

75 Ibid.

76 AFSSA, Nutrition et risques alimentaires, supra note 74, at p. 57-58.

77 Lledo, Histoire de la vache folle, supra note 31, at p. 40.

78 Vogel, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited,” supra note 45, at p. 571.

79 Vogel, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited,” supra note 45, at p. 569.

80 Fassin, Didier and Hauray, Boris (eds.), Santé publique: L’état des savoirs (Paris: La Découverte, 2010); Boris Hauray, from interview, 9 February 2012.

81 Raude, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire, supra note 48, at p. 6.

82 Fischler, C., “La maladie de la vache folle,” in Apfelbaum, M. (dir.), Risques et peurs alimentaires (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1998), pp. 118 , as cited by Raude, Sociologie d’une crise alimentaire, supra note 57, at p. 6.

83 Vogel, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited,” supra note 45, at p. 571.

84 Ibid.

85 Vogel, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited,” supra note 45, at p. 570.

86 Ibid.

87 Thatcher, Mark and Sweet, Alec Stone, “Theory and Practice of Delegation to Non-Majoritarian Institutions,” in Thatcher, and Sweet, Stone (eds.), The Politics of Delegation (London: Frank Cass and Company Ltd., 2003), pp. 1 et sqq., at p. 9.

88 Dioxins are “a group of chemical compounds released by processes such as waste incineration and the burning of household fuel, have been linked to health effects ranging from skin disease to cancer.” Taylor, David A., “Animal Feed to People Food: The Belgian Dioxin Incident,” 109.3 Environmental Health Perspectives, (2001), p. A133 .

89 This listeria outbreak in France came on the heels of two other listeria outbreaks in 1992 and 1993. Although fewer individuals were sickened than the previous outbreaks, of the thirty-three cases in 1995, eleven pregnant women fell ill, resulting in four fetal deaths. The 1995 outbreak was also the first from unpasteurized cheese and was caused by an unusual phage type that had not been seen in other cases in Europe or North America.

90 McMichael, A. J., “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food: Chickens and Eggs,” 53.12 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1999), pp. 742 et sqq., at p. 743.

91 Jacob, Casey J., Lok, Corie, Morley, Katija, and Powell, Douglas A., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises involving dioxin contamination of food,” 20.2 Public Understanding of Science (2011), pp. 261 et sqq., at p. 263; McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 743.

92 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 743.

93 Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 264.

94 Ibid.

95 Ibid.

96 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 743.

97 Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 264.

98 Ibid.

99 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 743.

100 Ibid.

101 N. Ammerlaan, “Chicken Scare Flavour of the Day in Belgian Campaign,” Reuters 31 May 1999, as cited by Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 264.

102 Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 264.

103 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 742.

104 Bonneux, Luc and Van Damme, Wim, “An Iatrogenic Pandemic of Panic,” 332 BMJ: British Medical Journal (2006), pp. 786 et sqq., at p. 786.

105 Larebeke, Nik van, Hens, Luc, Schepens, Paul, Covaci, Adrian, Baeyens, Jan, Everaert, Kim, Bernheim, Jan L., Vlietinck, Robert, and De Poorter, Geert, “The Belgian PCB and Dioxin Incident of January-June 1999: Exposure Data and Potential Impact on Health,” 109.3 Environmental Health Perspectives (2001), pp. 265 et sqq., at p. 272.

106 Taylor, “Animal Feed to People Food,” supra note 88, at p. A133.

107 Ibid.

108 Bonneux and Van Damme, “Iatrogenic Pandemic of Panic,” supra note 103, at p. 787.

109 J.Y. Nau, “Le temps des angoisses alimentaires (A propos du poulet à la dioxine),” Le Monde, 8 June 1999.

110 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 742.

111 Ibid.

112 Larebeke, Nik van, Hens, Luc, Schepens, Paul, Covaci, Adrian, Baeyens, Jan, Everaert, Kim, Bernheim, Jan L., Vlietinck, Robert, and De Poorte, Geert, “The Belgian PCB and Dioxin Incident of January-June 1999: Exposure Data and Potential Impact on Health,” 109.3 Environmental Health Perspectives (2001), pp. 265 et sqq., at p. 265.

113 Van Larebeke et al., “The Belgian PCB and Dioxin Incident,” supra note 104, at p. 265.

114 J.Y. Nau, “Dioxine : la France décrète un embargo sur tous les produits animaux,” Le Monde, 7 June 1999.

115 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 743.

116 McMichael, “Dioxins in Belgian Feed and Food,” supra note 89, at p. 743; Jacob et al., “Government management of two mediafacilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 265.

117 Bonneux and Van Damme, “Iatrogenic Pandemic of Panic,” supra note 103, at p. 786.

118 Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 265.

119 Joelle Meskens, “Paris a déclenché l’artillerie lourde pour rassurer,” Le Soir, 7 June 1999.

120 J.Y. Nau, “Critiquée par la Commission européenne, la France cherche à se justifier,” Le Monde, 8 June 1999.

121 Reuters, “Belgian Farm, Health Ministers Offer to Quit Government,” 1 June 1999, as cited by Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 90, at p. 264.

122 Jacob et al., “Government management of two media-facilitated crises,” supra note 105, at p. 264.

123 Pierre Bouillon, “PS et PSC chutent, le PRL stagne, Ecolo grimpe,” Le Soir, 14 June 1999.

124 Hood, Christopher, The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013), at p. 150 .

125 Collingridge, David, “Resilience, Flexibility, and Diversity in Managing Risks of Technologies,” in Hood, and Jones, (eds.), Accident and Design: Contemporary debates in risk management (London: Routledge, 1996/2002), pp. 40 et sqq., at p. 45.

126 Brossard, Dominique and Shanahan, James, “Perspectives on Communication about Agricultural Biotechnology,” in Brossard, , Shanahan, , and Nesbitt, (eds.), The Media, the Public, and Agricultural Biotechnology (Oxon, UK: CAB International, 2007), pp. 3 et sqq., at p. 10.

127 Brossard and Shanahan, “Perspectives on Communication,” supra note 125, at p. 10.

128 INRA (Europe) – ECOSA, “The Europeans and Biotechnology,” 52.1 Eurobarometer (Brussels: European Commission, 2000).

129 INRA, “The Europeans and Biotechnology,” supra note 127, at p. a.

130 INRA, “The Europeans and Biotechnology,” supra note 127, at p. 8.

131 INRA, “The Europeans and Biotechnology,” supra note 127, at p. 34.

132 Gaskell, George, “Agricultural Biotechnology and Public Attitudes in the European Union,” 3 AgBioForum (2000), pp. 87 et sqq., at p. 89.

133 Gaskell, “Agricultural Biotechnology and Public Attitudes,” supra note 131, at p. 88-89.

134 Ibid.

135 Bonny, Sylvie, “Why are most Europeans opposed to GMOs? Factors explaining rejection in France and Europe,” 6.1 Electronic Journal of Biotechnology (2003), pp. 50 et sqq., at p. 53.

136 Bonny, “Why are most Europeans opposed to GMOs?” supra note 134, at p. 53.

137 Ibid.

138 Browaeys, Dorothée Benoît, Des Inconnus dans… nos assiettes. Après la vache folle, les aliments transgéniques! (Paris: Raymond Castells Éditions, 1998), at p. 19 .

139 Roy, Alexis, Les Experts face au risque: le cas des plantes trangèniques (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2001), at p. 11 .

140 Ibid.

141 Ibid.

142 Williams, Nigel, “Agricultural Biotech Faces Backlash in Europe,” 281 Science (1998), pp. 768 et sqq., at p. 769.

143 Spök, Armin, “Biotechnology Policy in the European Union,” in Taylor, Iain E.P. (ed.), Genetically Engineered Crops. Interim Policies, Uncertain Legislation (New York: Haworth Food and Agricultural Products Press, 2007), p. 229 et sqq., at p. 231.

144 Spök, “Biotechnology Policy in the European Union,” supra note 142, at p. 231.

145 Bonny, Sylvie, “Opposition to GMOs in France and Europe,” in Evenson, R.E. and Santaniello, V. (eds.), Consumer Acceptance of Genetically Modified Foods (Oxon, UK: CAB International Publishing, 2004), p. 169 et sqq., at p. 174.

146 Weimer, Maria, “Risk Regulation and Deliberation in EU Administrative Governance—GMO Regulation and Its Reform,” 21.5 European Law Journal (2015), p. 622 et sqq.

147 Weimer, “Risk Regulation and Deliberation in EU Administrative Governance,” supra note 146, at p. 625.

148 Directive (EU) Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 amending Directive 2001/18/EC as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their territory Text with EEA relevance.

149 For examples of that detailed analysis, see: Weimer, “Risk Regulation and Deliberation in EU Administrative Governance,” supra note 146; Poli, Sara, “Scientific advice in the GMO area,” in Alemanno, A. and Gabbi, S. (eds.), Foundations of EU Food Law and Policy: Ten Years of the European Food Safety Authority (Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2014); Pollack, Mark and Shaffer, Gregory, “Biotechnology Policy: Between National Fears and Global Disciplines,” in Wallace, , Pollack, , and Young, (eds.), Policy- Making in the European Union, 6th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 331 et sqq.; Pollack, Mark and Shaffer, Gregory, When Cooperation Fails: the International Law and Politics of Genetically Modified Foods (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Lee, Maria, EU Regulation of GMOs: Law and Decision Making for a New Technology (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008); Chalmers, Damien, “Risk, Anxiety and the European Mediation of the Politics of Life,” 30 European Law Review (2005), p. 649 et sqq.

150 Weimer, “Risk Regulation and Deliberation in EU Administrative Governance,” supra note 146, at p. 624.

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European Journal of Risk Regulation
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