Editor’s note: Bernard Goldstein, MD is a professor emeritus and dean emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
President Trump’s trip to Davos has continued a long tradition of American presidents complaining about unfair barriers to American trade. He certainly is correct about the European Union’s (EU) misuse of an otherwise good public health principle, known as the Precautionary Principle, to ban American agricultural produce.
The precautionary principle, in essence, says look before you leap and consider uncertainty. It is “enshrined” in EU founding documents. But much to the distress of the rest of the world, the lack of a rigorous definition allows it to be flexibly applied to protect European agriculture.
GMO grain, in which the U.S. has long had a leadership role, was … banned by the EU based on the precautionary principle. After … being unable to demonstrate any health risk, the EU retreated from another World Trade Organization defeat by developing a complex and convoluted process preventing the U.S. and other non-EU farmers from significant EU market penetration while allowing EU farmers time to catch up.
An expert review by the World Health Organization and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization found that the EU’s more stringent standard was without significant health benefits.
Read full, original post: The EU’s distortion of public health unfairly hurts US agricultural produce