In August, 2017, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, supported by a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and in collaboration with the Indonesian National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) and the Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Resources Research and Development (ICABIOGRAD), hosted a three-day training course on Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered PlantsPhase I of this in-depth technical training, which took place in Bogor, Indonesia, covered the origin of modern food and feed safety assessment methods for foods derived from GE plants, after which participants were guided through a series of lectures and practical activities to help them develop experience in applying safety assessment concepts and reviewing associated data. Phase II of the program took place in Wilmington, Delaware in December of 2017 and reinforced learnings from Phase I by providing participants with tours and demonstrations at the Stine Haskell Research Laboratory, where regulatory studies related to food safety assessment were routinely conducted.

Phase III is an online course that has been designed to help Phase I and II participants revisit their training, as well as to introduce these concepts and tools to additional regulators. The online training course consists of ten modules that will uncover GE food and feed safety assessment based on concepts, principles, standards, guidelines and documents that have been developed at the international level through intergovernmental organizations like the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Participants will take a deep dive into the framework of food safety assessment, the concept of comparative assessment, and determination of substantial equivalence. Considerations for feed safety, effective communication and consultation with all interested parties throughout the risk analysis process, as well as the approaches to safety assessment and regulation of breeding stacks that are obtained by conventional breeding of existing transgenic events will also be discussed.

The first three modules were made available to Indonesian regulators nominated by ICABIOGRAD and BPOM on June 15, 2020, and the next modules will be released during the subsequent weeks, interspersed with discussion sessions and opportunities for feedback.

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