We welcomed Antigua and Barbuda to our community this month. Also Antigua and Barbudasuccessfully registered to the Platform. Welcome on board! Iran newly shared a record and other countries shared additional 66 records. Now we have a total of 172 countries that nominated a Focal Point and 167 countries that registered to the Platform. Also we are happy to inform you that 115 countries have completed their country profile pages and 36 countries have mutual links with the Platform. Currently we are hosting 831 records on the Platform.
Now available: Report of the Seminar on science-based GM regulations
On 13 October, a seminar entitled “Safety of novel food and genetically altered crops - What would science-based regulation look like?” was held at the Headquarters of FAO, Rome, Italy. The speaker was Dr Andrew Bartholomaeus, the former General Manager of the risk assessment branch of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), and has broad perspective on the safety assessment of novel foods. Dr Bartholomaeus discussed general principles of food safety regulations emphasizing the fact that the “natural” plant genome is highly plastic and “natural” crops are genetically unstable, thus sound regulatory frameworks should take this fact in considerations. The summary report of the seminar is now available on the top page of the Platform (http://fao.org/gm-platform/). Presentation slides and video are also accessible at http://tiny.cc/Dr_Bartholomaeus_Seminar.
Turkey has been sharing its records of GM food/feed safety assessment since June 2015 and in this month 13 new records were uploaded. Till now, all the GM food/feed safety assessments have been done to get approval for import of the GM products, and GM developers/owners have made no application. The Platform has been hosting these records from Turkey as special cases. Please check the page at http://tiny.cc/FAO-GM-TUR. We would like to thank the Turkey Focal Points for their efforts made in making these data available and for the future commitment to keep sharing the latest information on GM food/feed safety assessment.
Question of the month: How can I find the latest information on trainings /workshops on GM food safety assessment and other related events?
Future events on biosafety and the related information will be announced on the monthly eNewsletter. Make sure to read our eNewsletters every month to participate in such events. All Platform-related past activities are archived at http://tiny.cc/biosafety_archive.
Country profile highlight Vol. 22: Bhutan
For this month, FAO selects Thailand (http://tiny.cc/FAO-GM-THA) and introduces its “Country Profile”. The selection is done at random and there is no criterion for the selection. We strongly encourage all of you to review/update your Country Profile section of the Platform.
“The Biosafety Act of Bhutan 2015, passed in July 2015 has been cautiously drafted considering the Kingdom’s current interest and keeping in view the country’s food security needs. The Biosafety Act addresses the regulation and safety management of GM organisms and GM products in the Kingdom.
The Biosafety Act and relevant technical guidelines has been drafted with financial and technical support from UNEP-GEF through the National Biosafety Framework Project (2012-2014) under Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF). BAFRA has been designated as the National Competent Authority to regulate and co-ordinate all Biosafety related activities in the Kingdom. For ease in implementation of the provisions of the Act, the Biosafety Rules and Regulations have been readied; it is yet to be formalized.
For importation of GMOs for direct use as food, feed or for processing (FFP), GM food safety assessment/review is a requirement by law under the Biosafety Act of Bhutan 2015. The National Biosafety Board reviews and makes decisions on events based on the scientific/technical risk review provided by the Biosafety Technical Working Group and also taking into consideration policy issues as well as public inputs. The decisions and its related documents would be made publicly available through the appropriate websites.
The GM Food safety review would be conducted in line with the national safety guidelines for the assessment of GM foods/feeds. These safety guidelines have been adapted based on the internationally established scientific guidelines and principles of Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Expert Consultations, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).”