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.

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 ILSI Research Foundation 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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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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eLearning

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

Criterios propuestos para identificar cultivos genéticamente modificados que presentan un riesgo bajo o insignificante para el ambiente en condiciones de baja presencia en semillas

This article is the Spanish translation of “Proposed Criteria for Identifying GE Crop Plants That Pose a Low or Negligible Risk to the Environment Under Conditions of Low-Level Presence in Seed,” which appeared in Transgenic Research.

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Characteristics and Safety Assessment of Intractable Proteins in Genetically Modified Crops

While the basic tiered weight-of-evidence approach for assessing the safety of genetically modified crops proposed by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) in 2008 is applicable to intractable proteins, new or modified methods may be required. The alternatives are discussed in this paper.

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Low Level Presence in Seed: A Science Based Approach to Expedited Environmental Risk Assessment

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute organized a workshop held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 18-19, 2013 on low level presence (LLP) in seed. This document contains the conference proceedings to address the potential adverse environmental impacts that might arise from an LLP in seed situation using a consistent and scientifically defensible approach to environmental risk assessment.

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Toxicological Evaluation of Proteins Introduced Into Food Crops

This manuscript focuses on the toxicological evaluation of proteins introduced into GM crops to impart desired traits. In many cases, introduced proteins can be shown to have a history of safe use.

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Water Recovery and Reuse: Guidelines for Safe Application of Water Conservation Methods in Beverage Production and Food Processing

Many beverage producers and food processors are experiencing multiple pressures to find ways to minimize the total volume of water they use in the production of their product, and also to reduce waste water discharges.

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