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

Supported by a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and organized 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), this online training course for Indonesian regulators consists of ten modules on the topic of GE food and feed safety assessment.

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Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods Webinar Series

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 this webinar series to discuss the history and opportunities of microbial biotechnology for novel foods.

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OECD Working Group on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds (WG-SNFF)

The OECD Task Force on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds (WG-SNFF), 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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OECD Working Group on the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology (WG-HROB)

The OECD Working Group on the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology (WG-HROB), 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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Scientific Symposium: Addressing Water Variability and Scarcity – The Role of Agricultural Research

This year’s Agriculture & Food Systems Institute Annual Scientific Symposium, co-organized with the Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), focused on the role of agricultural research in addressing water variability and scarcity.

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eLearning

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

Monographs on Pathology of Laboratory Animals: Respiratory System

This book is part of the series “Monographs on Pathology of Laboratory Animals,” sponsored by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute between 1985 and 1998. The series was intended for pathologists, toxicologists, and other interested in evaluating and harmonizing toxicological testing. Its goal was to provide useful information to pathologists involved in studies of foods, drugs, chemicals, and other substances found in the environment.

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Monographs on Pathology of Laboratory Animals: Endocrine System

This book is part of the series “Monographs on Pathology of Laboratory Animals,” sponsored by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute between 1985 and 1998. The series was intended for pathologists, toxicologists, and other interested in evaluating and harmonizing toxicological testing. Its goal was to provide useful information to pathologists involved in studies of foods, drugs, chemicals, and other substances found in the environment.

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