Are there any international agreements to regulate GMO use?
The Biosafety Protocol is the first international agreement to regulate the international trade of GMOs. It is unique in that it advocates sustainability, prioritizes consideration of human health, and adopts the “precautionary approach.” The “precautionary approach” is from the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which states that “[w]here there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” In the case of biotechnology, the risks are to biodiversity and human health. The Protocol simply requires countries to label shipments of seeds and organisms when they are meant to be released into the environment, and to include information about the genetic alteration made. According to the Protocol countries are permitted to reject GM imports if they have scientific reasons to doubt their safety. They are also permitted to consider socioecono