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This study argues that biotechnologies have a fundamental impact on the structure of the food system. On the supply side they are responsible for establishing new relations between the different food sectors and within the international organisation of the food system as a whole. Biotechnologies also potentially provide techniques for a more flexible response to demand patterns increasingly based on scientific nutritional criteria. The study considers first the specific features of food production which set it off from other industrial systems and which account for the importance of biotechnologies. This is followed by an analysis of the relation between the food and the chemicals/pharmeceuticals sectors, the latter being the principal agents of biotechnology. The varied responses of different sectors within food production and the consequent shift in the international organisation of the food system are analysed. The European food sectors are then considered both in terms of their position within the world markets and their response to new patterns of demand. Finally, North-South food relations ae examined and particularly the place of biotechnologies, both in terms of industrial strategy and public policy.

Additional information

Authors: WILKINSON J, Federal University, Rio de Janiero (BR)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 11958 EN (1987) 125 pp.
Availability: Available from European Commission, DG XII, Bruxelles (BE)
Record Number: 199010556 / Last updated on: 1994-12-01
Original language: en
Available languages: en