Objective

While the majority of governments design safety assessments of genetically engineered (GE) foods around the Codex Alimentarius’ principles and guidelines, there remain significant differences in the practical application of the Codex and other international guidance. This adds complexity, time, and cost to the regulatory process, further exacerbates asynchronous authorizations, and stands in the way of achieving regional or sub-regional regulatory cooperation. The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute’s efforts focus primarily on technical training of regulators and public sector scientists who are called upon to inform risk assessments on behalf of institutional or national biosafety committees. This includes training around concepts and principles of GE food safety assessment and, where necessary, turning this into experiential understanding.

Collaborators & Partners

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, CropLife China, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chinese Society of Agricultural Biotechnology, Chinese National Institute for Nutrition and Health, and Estel Consult Ltd.

Current Work

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute is engaged in outreach and capacity building on GE food safety assessment in China, in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, CropLife China, and other Chinese academic and government stakeholders. An initial workshop was convened in 2016, with presentations on the GE food safety assessment paradigm, regulation of biotechnology in China, and considerations for new agricultural biotechnologies. A follow-up workshop was organized by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute in May 2017, together with ILSI Focal Point in China, the National Institute for Nutrition and Health at China CDC, and the Chinese Society of Agricultural Biotechnology.

Supported by a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute is organizing a food safety training program that focuses on providing practical instruction in the technical aspects of food safety testing and evaluation for foods derived from GE plants. The first phase of the program involves classroom and case study training near Beijing, while the second phase will be conducted at a research center in the United States, where participants will be able to observe studies being conducted in laboratory facilities to improve practical understanding of just how and why these studies are carried out.

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work we are doing by reading our monthly newsletter.

Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants: Phase II Technical Workshop

Implemented by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute and conducted in two phases, this technical training program provided Chinese public-sector scientists with in-depth technical information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from genetically engineered (GE) crops.

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OECD Working Group on the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology

The OECD Working Group on the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology, for which the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute is a recognized observer organization, works on technical issues related to the environmental risk/safety assessment of organisms that are produced through modern biotechnology.

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OECD Working Group on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds

The OECD Task Force on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds, for which the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute is a recognized observer organization, works on technical issues related to the food safety of novel foods and feeds, including the products of agricultural biotechnology.

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Crop Composition as a Component of Food and Feed Safety Assessment and Hands On with the Crop Composition Database

Open to attendees of the 15th ISBR Symposium, this workshop provided an opportunity to briefly discuss the rationale for considering crop composition data, how that data is interpreted in the context of the safety assessment, and what the limitations are to compositional studies.

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Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants: Phase I Technical Workshop

Implemented by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, this technical training program was structured to provide Chinese public-sector scientists in-depth technical information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from genetically engineered (GE) crops.

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eLearning

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute has developed eLearning courses that focus on environmental risk assessment.

A Review of the Food and Feed Safety of the EPSPS Protein

This document provides a comprehensive review of information and data relevant to the assessment of the EPSPS protein for food and feed safety.

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A Review of the Food and Feed Safety of the Cry1Ab Protein

This document provides a comprehensive review of information and data relevant to the assessment of the protein Cry1Ab for food and feed safety.

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A Review of the Food and Feed Safety of the Cry1Ac Protein

This document provides a comprehensive review of information and data relevant to the assessment of the protein Cry1Ac for food and feed safety.

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A Review of the Food and Feed Safety of the PAT Protein

This document provides a comprehensive review of information and data relevant to the assessment of the protein PAT for food and feed safety.

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Release of the International Life Sciences Institute Crop Composition Database Version 5

The International Life Sciences Institute Crop Composition Database (CCDB) Version 5 was released to the public in October 2014, and is an open-access source of comprehensive nutritional composition data for six conventionally bred crops (canola, cotton, field corn, rice, soybean, and sweet corn). This article focuses on the improvements to the database through Version 5, including increased utility and ease of use that provides a high quality representation of variability in crop nutritional composition.  

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