Com negociadors dels EUA. i la UE comencen converses sobre el comerç transatlàntic proposats i Associació d'inversió (TTIP), us prepararà els negociadors agrícoles de lidiar amb el principi de precaució (PP) as an overall risk management strategy. The PP has repeatedly divided the two groups on sanitary and phytosanitary issues related to agriculture. An issue paper from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Impacte del principi de precaució en l'alimentació actual i les generacions futures ofereix alguns molt necessària base científica sobre el tema.

The PP became prominent in the EU in the last decade of the 20th century as an overarching philosophy of prudent caution in environmental programs. The authors state “The PP is based on the everyday aphorism that it is better to be safe than sorry and that some degree of precaution is appropriate, fet imprescindible, for any meaningful regulatory program.” The PP attempts to make explicit the typically implicit application of precaution and increase the amount of precaution applied. Some argue that the PP should only be applied in risk management after a scientific assessment of risks has been performed.

En els darrers anys el PP ha trobat crítiques que és antiscientific i econòmicament perjudicial. L'u. ha va refusar rotundament a acceptar el PP com a requisit formal a nivell federal, però els autors assenyalen que el pensament PP ha lliscat a normativa de plaguicides. The WTO dispute resolution process rebuffed the EU’s attempts to use the PP to justify restrictions on biotech commodity and food exports from the U.S., Canadà, i l'Argentina. Even the EU courts are increasingly constraining the PP by requiring its application to be preceded by a scientific risk assessment. En 2004 la Comissió de la UE va rebutjar crides per una moratòria sobre nanotecnologia dient que el "principi de precaució, tan utilitzat fins ara, podrien aplicar en el cas que s'identifiquen realistes i greus riscos".

Els autors consideren la crítica més comuns tres del PP són: l'ambigüitat i la manca de definició; l'arbitrarietat i la unprincipled maneres que s'ha aplicat; and the bias against new technologies. There is a lack of an official definition and important variations in unofficial versions, none of which has application precedence. None of the unofficial definitions answer essential questions necessary for rational risk regulation like the evidence needed to trigger action, el nivell acceptable de risc, costos d'oportunitat de reducció de risc, i com "risc-risc" equilibris cal tenir en compte.

El PP és citat en les decisions reguladores que probablement hauria estat fet sense el PP, però els autors creuen "en altres casos, political factors appear to be the only explanation for why the PP is applied to some risks but not others.” The PP was used to justify protectionist trade policies by Norway and the Netherlands in banning Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® because the added vitamins could potentially harm susceptible individuals. This was eventually struck down by a court ruling. The PP also seems to be applied for political reasons when NGOs target products like biotech commodities and food made from them when the PP is not applied to products with similar environmental and health risks not produced with biotechnology.

It is not surprising that the PP would be applied more to new technologies and products since the focus of the PP is new risks when there are significant uncertainties. Com a norma general, new technologies and products are usually safer and have lower risks than the ones they replace. Favoring the status quo often means higher risks. New technologies present potential environmental and health benefits in addition to possible risks and it is not obvious that restricting a new technology under the PP will increase or decrease risks. The authors conclude “if taken and applied in its more stringent formulations, el PP suprimirà innovació, en detriment de l'economia i la salut humana."

Estudis de casos estan inclosos en la EUA. regulació dels productes químics agrícoles, biotech foods and food irradiation. In the case of agricultural chemicals the authors explain that a ‘precautionary approach’ is used. “During registration, the EPA must ensure that the pesticide will cause no unreasonable adverse effect on human health or the environment once the product is registered and used according to label directions.” Unless the data show that the pesticide is not allowed to be sold. The authors see gene transfer in biotech crops not being inherently new or as uncertain as the application of the PP supposes. The risks are in specific constructs and the environments where released rather than in the gene transfer itself. Food irradiation suffers perception that all nuclear technologies are dangerous and irradiation is defined as an additive rather a process.

Els autors conclouen "sense perjudici seu ràpid ascens en l'àmbit internacional, el PP té defectes greus i no, almenys en la seva forma actual, proporcionar una, racional, i defensable base per a les decisions de gestió de risc. Com a registre i estudis de cas resumits anteriorment demostrar, el PP és deficient. Sense una definició viable i acordada criteris per a la seva aplicació, ocupació del PP fins a la data, incloent en el context d'aliments, ha estat dictat més influències polítiques que factors de científiques."

This does not mean that appropriate risk management is not important in the TTIP trade agreement or that some magic approach is available to avoid making hard choices. The PP can at least partially be credited with increasing attention on the proper amount of risk management for specific situations.

Alimentar-se adequadament 9.1 mil milions de persones en 2050 requerirà la producció d'aliments per augmentar els 70 percent from today’s level. It will require the adoption of new technology and new products to increase yields per acre where scientific assessments will be needed to measure the risk of new technology against the risk of doing nothing at all. If the negotiators of the TTIP agreement could settle on a regulatory framework based on science for the U.S. i l'economia de la UE, farien una inestimable aportació a la resta del món.

Ross Korves és un comerç i analista de política econòmica de veritat sobre comerç & Tecnologia (www.truthabouttrade.org). Segueix-nos: @TruthAboutTrade en Refilar | Veritat sobre comerç & Tecnologia en Facebook.