Upstream Oversight Assessment for Agrifood Nanotechnology: A Case Studies Approach
Vol. 28, Num. 4
The authors in this article cite nanotechnologys breakneck speed of progress and the publics basic unfamiliarity with the particulars of the field as excellent reason that strong governance is necessary to ensure proper risk analysis. They see not only the need for anticipatory regulations across the field but especially in the case of agriculture and food production, as agrifood nanotechnology is at a critical stage in which informed analysis can help shape oversight activities and decisions. They use an approach they term as upstream oversight assessment to determine not just the possible effects of a particular nanotechnological process on agrifood production but also the public reaction to the process itself and the anticipated results. Through six case studies, the authors found that technical assessments of emerging nano products through an UOA process could be used to focus deliberation and identify areas of public concern, research needs, and potential coordination among regulatory bodies, as well as providing a basis for the similar examination of other emerging technologies about which the public knows little but where great potential for environmental and social harm exists.