The University of Arizona

Sowing seeds of hope in California's fields of resistance to Pharm rice and Frankenfish

Dustin Mulvaney, Anna Zivian


California has been an important site of governance on risks from genetically engineered (GE) organisms. This paper reviews California's efforts to govern the ecological and food safety risks from GE salmon and GE pharmaceutical rice. We explain how a political constellation of actors emerged to pursue precautionary policies, and we discuss the prospects for similar policies elsewhere. We find that regulation of particularly risky objects is possible in some places, particularly where social movement organizations are mobilized and the possible consequences are severe, such as with impacts to wild salmon runs or pharmaceutically contaminated foods. But such regulations may only emerge when they are inconsequential to, or aligned with, the market concerns of dominant economic interests.

Key Words: genetically engineered organisms, social movements, biosafety, California.

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