May 19, 2009 by Stan Benda
Stan Benda, is adjunct faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is Senior Counsel at Justice Canada acting for Agriculture Canada’s Intellectual Property Office and Multilateral Science Relations Office (International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, Convention on Biological Diversity, Cartagena). He recently completed his Ph.D. on the Labelling of GM Foods.
According to a Globe and Mail article, “The availability [of abortion drugs] should be based on science-not politics, religious beliefs, or moral judgments.” Substitute Genetically Modified (GM) foods for abortion drugs and now politics, religious beliefs, and moral judgments seem legitimate. This reversal seems perverse. It is not if one appreciates the two ways of looking at risk in the context of novel technologies. Those two approaches also beget respectively emblematic labelling schemes, namely the “right to know” (RTK) and the “need to know” (NTK).