Patricia A. Stapleton, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Patricia A. Stapleton is a comparative political science and public policy scholar. She currently teaches at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where she is the director of the Society, Technology, and Policy Program. Her research interests cover the regulation of biotechnology, both in food and reproductive medicine. In addition to a Ph.D. in political science, Patricia has an M.A. in French literature. When possible, she writes on the intersection of literature and politics, especially in the context of utopian/dystopian fiction.



GMO Trade Negotiations as Proxy for Cultural Differences

Over the last three decades, the main producers of genetically modified (GM) crops have found themselves at odds with the European Union, which has largely taken a more precautionary approach to GM crop approval and cultivation. The United States—the biggest producer of GM crops in the world—has pushed states worldwide to adopt its standards regarding GMOs. The spread of these American standards concerns health and environmental groups, who question the safety of GM food and whether GMOs actually address sustainability, hunger, and malnutrition concerns. This paper contrasts the US stance on GMOs and its interest in their worldwide promulgation with the European regulatory framework to examine how negotiations about GMOs actually serve as proxies for conflicting cultural and social perceptions of food, hunger, and risk. Finally, the paper considers how widespread adoption of American standards might affect food security by concentrating power among a few, multinational food conglomerates.