February 25, 2020
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies Auditorium
Bangladesh is making progress in ensuring safe food and nutritional security. Modern biotechnology can play a positive role in achieving this goal. However, to ensure the safety of food derived from biotechnology, implementation of biosafety procedures is crucial. Therefore, it is important to understand regulatory requirements and their implementation.
With the establishment of the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), Bangladesh is advancing toward a more organized and coordinated system to ensure food safety in the country. It is worth mentioning that, according to Act no. 31 of the Bangladesh Food Safety Act 2013, genetically engineered (GE) food is subject to laws and regulations. The South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) works to identify and facilitate awareness and capacity building for GE food, feed, and environmental safety assessment.
Since the BFSA is the facilitating agency tasked with rendering necessary support to relevant entities and organizations in Bangladesh and is directly involved in updating and upgrading the food safety standards or guidelines, SABP was very interested in jointly organizing an activity in order to build awareness and take part in the government’s initiative to strengthen the institutional governance of biosafety, i.e., the regulation of GE organisms and their products. This joint activity also aligned with the theme for 2020’s National Food Safety Day: “Put hands together, ensure safe food.”
The Genetically Modified Food: Requirements for Compliance and Consumers Awareness workshop was co-organized by the BFSA and SABP on February 25, 2020. During the workshop, Dr. Andrew F. Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation, delivered the keynote presentation on “History and Context for Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants.” Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited, discussed the “Indian Food Safety Guidelines for GM Crops and Harmonization Efforts in SARSO.” The status of regulations in Bangladesh was presented by Mr. Monzur Morshed Ahmed, Member (Health and Nutrition), Bangladesh Food Safety Authority. The workshop was chaired by Mr. Rejaul Karim, Member (Joint Secretary), Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, and Mr. Mahbub Kabir, Chairman (In Charge), Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, was present as Chief Guest. The workshop was attended by officials and representatives from various ministries, departments, and agencies of the Government of Bangladesh, as well as researchers from universities and national agricultural research institutions.