The Precautionary Principle and the Regulation of U.S. Food and Drug Safety
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2004 June; 29(3): 333-350
This article probes the advisability of regulating U.S. food and drug safety according to the precautionary principle. To do so, a precautionary regulatory regime is formulated on the basis of the beliefs that motivate most proponents of this initiative. That hypothetical regime is critically analyzed on the basis of an actual instantiation of a similarly stylized initiative. It will be argued that the precautionary principle entails regulatory constraints that are apt to violate basis tenets of political legitimacy. The modifications that would change this finding would also change precautionary regulation to the point that it would be indistinguishable from orthodox safety protocols. It is concluded on the basis of its impoverished content that the precautionary principle should not be taken seriously as a formal approach to the regulation of U.S. food and drug safety.
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