WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 25, 2007) — The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today launched a new program, Excellence Through Stewardship: Advancing Best Practices in Agricultural Biotechnology, the first industry-coordinated effort to address product stewardship and quality management.
Excellence Through Stewardship continues BIO’s commitment to enhancing regulatory compliance, and product quality for consumers. The program provides a strong quality management system for the full life cycle of biotech plants into the future. It is intended to promote the responsible management of agricultural biotechnology, the continued adoption of plant biotechnology globally, and the enhanced value of biotech-derived plant products in the marketplace.
“The agricultural biotechnology industry has a long history of promoting stewardship,” said Jim Greenwood, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of BIO. “The Excellence Through Stewardship program continues BIO’s efforts to provide consistently high quality standards across the agricultural biotechnology industry in addressing product stewardship and quality management issues. Today’s announcement reflects BIO’s commitment to promote safety and trust in the world’s food supply and to support smooth trade transactions in the agricultural community.”
Excellence Through Stewardship was developed by BIO’s Food and Agriculture Section to address product stewardship and quality management for the full plant life cycle. The program’s three main components include:
Adoption of quality management Principles and Management Practices for maintaining plant product integrity that outline the basic tenets of the Excellence Through Stewardship program.
Publication of a Quality Management Program Guide for BIO member companies and others involved in agricultural biotechnology research and development to use in understanding and implementing their own best practices.
Adoption of an independent, third-party Stewardship Audit Program designed to verify implementation of stewardship programs and confirm quality management systems and compliance with principles and management practices.
Participation in the stewardship program is encouraged for all companies and institutions involved in research, development and/or commercial activities for plant products including, but not limited to, commodity crops, specialty crops, energy crops, perennials, ornamentals, plant-made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) and plant-made industrials (PMIPs). Member companies of BIO’s Food and Agriculture Section are encouraged to self-certify adoption of stewardship principles and then undergo third-party audits of quality management practices.
“Although many companies already have quality management programs in place, the Excellence Through Stewardship program is the first industry-coordinated undertaking to meet today’s product stewardship challenges,” said Andrew Baum, president and CEO of SemBioSys, and Chairman of BIO’s Food and Agriculture Section Governing Body.
The Excellence Through Stewardship program is a global initiative that will be introduced in a three-phased approach. The biotech industry anticipates that the program will be rolled-out in the United States over the next 18 months, and will subsequently be extended globally within three years.
BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry. Visit BIO at www.bio.org.