WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 1, 2006) – Biotechnology Industry Organization President and CEO Jim Greenwood today issued the following statement on the adoption by the Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Food Derived from Biotechnology, in Chiba, Japan, of a U.S. government proposal to develop a food safety risk assessment process for adventitious presence:
“Today, the Codex Alimentarius Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Food Derived from Biotechnology agreed to accept the U.S. government’s proposal on Low-Level Presence of Recombinant-DNA Material. The task force has formed a working group, which will be chaired by the United States, Germany and Thailand, to draft an annex to the Codex Plant Guideline addressing the elements of a safety assessment for low-level presence of rDNA material in food, and identifying information-sharing mechanisms to facilitate utilization of the Annex and the data necessary to conduct an assessment of food safety by an importing country. BIO and its members applaud the Codex’s commitment to ensuring food safety for consumers, farmers, food processors, and grain handlers. BIO also thanks the U.S. government for successfully advocating adoption of this project by the Codex.
“Over the last several years, BIO and its members have continually urged Codex to implement a science-based policy that governs incidental or trace amounts – or so-called ‘adventitious presence’ – of biotechnology-enhanced events in food and feed. This intergovernmental task force’s safety assessment will complement the policies on adventitious presence adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency in September 2006 and by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2006.
“The EPA and FDA food safety evaluations recognize that adventitious presence is a safe and natural part of plant biology, seed production, and the distribution of commodity crops. They have served as a crucial step toward development of comprehensive international science-based systems that regulate modern agricultural products. This is especially important in today’s global trading arena as more than 8.5 million farmers are growing biotech crops in 21 countries.”
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.