About the Webinar Series

Background

Food ingredients are an essential part of the global food supply and international trade. Microbial fermentation is used to make purified flavors, vitamins, amino acids, and other compounds for the food industry. Food producers around the world use microbe-derived products because they provide yield, purity, cost competitiveness advantages, and potential resource conservation.

Microbial biotechnology, including techniques other than genetic engineering, is one technology used to produce products of microbial fermentation. In the food industry, it is used to produce a range of foods, beverages, and their ingredients. Ingredients derived from microbial biotechnology include:

  1. enzymes used to make wine, cheese, beer, and processed products ranging from baked goods to sauces,
  2. vitamins used to make infant formula similar to human milk and wellness-enhancing products, and
  3. food additives for seasoning, flavoring, coloring, or thickening, including those used for plant-based meat products, and many other applications.

Supported by a grant from the New Technologies and Production Methods Division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs (TPGA) area, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute organized the Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods Webinar Series to discuss the history and opportunities of microbial biotechnology for novel foods. With four sessions taking place between July 9-17, 2020, this online event began with an exciting plenary talk on the history and future of microbial technology, followed by three discussion sessions guided by experts in the field.

Agenda

Date  Webinar
Thursday, July 9, 2020 11:00-12:00 EST Plenary Talk: History and Future of Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Food
Dr. Jonathan McIntyre
Chief Executive Officer, Motif FoodWorks, Inc.
Monday, July 13, 2020 11:00-12:30 EST Discussion 1: The Science of Microbial Products of Biotechnology
Dr. Vincent Sewalt
Senior Director, Regulatory Science & Advocacy, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 11:00-12:30 EST Discussion 2: Industry and Consumers of Products Derived from Microbial Biotechnology
Dr. Elke Duwenig
Senior Expert, Global Regulatory/Public & Government Affairs - Biotechnology, Nutrition & Health, BASF SE, Germany
Friday, July 17, 2020
11:00-12:30 EST
Discussion 3:Trade of Food Products Derived from Microbial Biotechnology
Dr. Paul Hanlon
Director of Regulatory Affairs, Abbott Nutrition

Overview

The first webinar featured a keynote presentation from Dr. Jonathan McIntyre, who brought more than 25 years of experience at the nexus of science and consumer products to bear in order to set the stage for robust discussions of this dynamic but often overlooked field. The program continued with three additional webinars designed to foster insightful discussion on a range of topics that are critical to understanding the role of microbial biotechnology and derived food ingredients in trade. As part of these programs, three industry leading speakers prepared short discussion papers that were provided in advance of the webinars. Participants were asked to read these short discussion papers prior to the event, as they served to facilitate the guided discussions, which were the cornerstone of the program.

The aim of this webinar series was to convene scientists and stakeholders with a background in food safety and biotechnology from a variety of sectors, including academia, industry, and governments, to raise awareness and foster a shared understanding of the nature of products derived from microbial biotechnology. Guided discussions shed light on safety standards, how the regulatory framework impacts trade, the prospective of the global market for these products, as well as communication around low-risk, well-characterized food and food ingredients derived from biotech microbes, algae, and fermented products. The outcomes from the webinars will be used to inform future activities, including policy discussions and outreach efforts intended to enhance science-based regulatory frameworks that ultimately facilitate trade.

The webinar series was organized following the postponement, as a result of the COVID-19 global emergency, of the in-person Workshop on Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods, which was set to take place in space provided by the OECD Boulogne Offices on March 25-26, 2020. 

Plenary Talk: History and Future of Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Food
Dr. Jonathan McIntyre
Chief Executive Officer, Motif FoodWorks, Inc.
July 9, 2020, 11:00-12:00 EST
Discussion 1: The Science of Microbial Products of Biotechnology: Engineering, Manufacture, and Food Safety
Dr. Vincent Sewalt
Senior Director, Regulatory Science & Advocacy, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences
July 13, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EST
Discussion 2: Industry and Consumers of Products Derived from Microbial Biotechnology
Dr. Elke Duwenig
Senior Expert, Global Regulatory/Public & Government Affairs - Biotechnology, Nutrition & Health, BASF SE, Germany
July 15, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EST
Discussion 3: Trade of Food Products Derived from Microbial Biotechnology
Paul Hanlon, Ph.D., DABT
Director of Regulatory Affairs, Abbott Nutrition
July 17, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EST
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