The Challenges of Consulting the Public on Science Policy: Examining the Development of European Risk Assessment Policy for Genetically Modified Animals
Review of Policy Research
Wiley for Policy Studies Organization (PSO)
© 2014 by The Policy Studies Organization
With the growing importance of public engagement in science policy making and declining levels of public trust in food production, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has attempted to embed “good governance” approaches to strengthen scientific independence and open up risk decision making, which include the use of public consultations. However, “opening up” of risk assessment policies reveals some tensions; namely, balancing the goals of scientific excellence and transparency, protecting science from interests, addressing value judgments, and limited opportunities to debate ethical and social issues. EFSA's development of risk assessment policy for genetically modified animals is used as a case study to analyze these tensions. This analysis suggests that in order to fulfill good governance commitments and maintain trust in risk governance, closer cooperation between EFSA and the European Commission is required to provide “space” for debating the broader risk management issues. This publically accessible space may be needed alongside rather than instead of EFSA's consultation.
This research was funded through the Leverhulme Trust research programme “Making Science Public” (RP2011-SP-013).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 31 (6), pp. 481 - 502