The public controversy over genetically modified (GM) crops is predominantly framed in terms of health and safety risks to humans and the environment. However, opponents of GM crops are motivated by a wide variety of other social, political, and economic concerns. In this paper, I critically assess the predominance of the health and safety framing in terms of Iris Young’s model of communicative democracy. I argue that the health and safety framing leads to the marginalization of the social, political, and economic concerns of GM opponents, within both public discourse and government, and is therefore democratically illegitimate.

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