Title: Nanotechnology and the public interest: Repeating the mistakes of GM foods?

Authors: Georgia Miller

Addresses: Nanotechnology Project Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Australia, P.O. Box 222, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia

Abstract: There is a widespread perception that the public backlash against Genetically Modified (GM) food ||effectively stalled a new industry||. In this context, much has been made of the |lessons| that governments and the burgeoning nanotechnology industry must learn from the experience of GM food. These include the importance of ensuring that the public has confidence in risk governance, that social and ethical issues are addressed alongside basic issues of safety, that applications are seen to be socially useful, and that opportunity for a two-way dialogue between the public and decision makers is established early in nanotechnology|s development. Public engagement processes have identified that these issues are also important in relation to nanotechnology. And yet, despite the apparent importance attached to |getting it right| this time around, there is a clear inconsistency between the |lessons learnt| and the actions taken by government and industry.

Keywords: nanotechnology; genetically modified foods; GM food; governance; environmental risks; health risks; social issues; public opinion; upstream public engagement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2008.020366

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2008 Vol.7 No.2/3, pp.274 - 280

Published online: 18 Sep 2008 *

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