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Impact

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 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 ILSI Research Foundation’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

ILSI Focal Point in China, CropLife China, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chinese Society of Agricultural Biotechnology, Chinese National Institute for Nutrition and Health, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan (Indonesia), USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Areas of Focus

The ILSI Research Foundation is implementing food safety activities in China and Indonesia as well as preparing a reference book that describes how and why safety assessments of foods derived from genetically engineered crops are undertaken, while placing these in the context of overall conventional food safety.

Current Activity

The ILSI Research Foundation 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 is currently being planned for May 2017.

Supported by a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and in collaboration with the Government of Indonesia, the ILSI Research Foundation is organizing a food safety training program which 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 in Jakarta, while the second phase is being conducted in cooperation with the DuPont Stine Haskell Research Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Participants will receive classroom and practical training, in addition to being able to observe studies being conducted in laboratory facilities to improve practical understanding of just how and why these studies are carried out.

The ILSI Research Foundation has established a steering committee to develop a book publication that is intended to provide a single source for detailed technical guidance and description of GE food safety testing and evaluation. The book will also offer sections on the context and history of the current assessment paradigm as published in the Codex Alimentarius guidelines on the subject, as well as perspectives on what current and future developments might mean in the context of this paradigm.

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work being done by the ILSI Research Foundation by reading our monthly e-newsletter.

e-Learning

e-Learning courses have been developed by the ILSI Research Foundation that focus on food safety.

Crop Health and Its Global Impacts on the Components of Food Security

This article attempts to develop a framework that would enable assessment of the impacts of plant diseases, referred collectively to as crop health, on food security via its components. Given the number of components and interactions at play, a systems modelling approach is required to address the functioning of food systems exposed to plant disease risks.

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