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FAO GM Foods Platform user guide - Sharing information on safety assessments of genetically modified (GM) food










​FAO. 2018. FAO GM Foods Platform user guide – Sharing information on safety assessments of genetically modified (GM) food.
Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).


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    Booklet
    FAO GM Foods Platform: Are we effectively evaluating food safety?
    Background Paper for the Platform Community Meeting 2019
    2020
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    In order for Members of Codex Alimentarius (Codex, 2019a) to share information on Codex-aligned Genetically Modified (GM) food safety assessment, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) maintains an online database entitled “FAO GM Foods Platform”. As of September 2019, 172 Codex Members out of 189 (91 percent) officially designated national focal points to the Platform to participate, however, only 28 percent have been able to share the results of their own GM food safety assessments. Most of the remaining Members still struggle to conduct the assessment, mainly due to technical and institutional capacity and/ or situational issues. This document aims to assist such focal points, particularly those in developing nations, as the document illustrates various Platform community members’ situations regarding the required knowledge and expertise, desired institutional set-ups, and effective communication mechanism. Some of the good practices are highlighted. The document serves as a fundamental basis for many key discussions to be held during the Global Community Meeting on the FAO GM Foods Platform to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 10 to 13 September 2019. Together with the physical meeting, the paper provides a unique opportunity for both experienced and less experienced Codex Members to understand the challenges that many countries face, and the opportunity to improve current situations. The annex of the document provides the contact information of all Platform community members, which is an invaluable resource for many focal points to establish technical networks and the community of practice together.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    FAO questionnaire results on genetically modified food safety assessment
    Global stock-taking exercise of the national situations, September 2019
    2020
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    In 2008, the Codex Alimentarius members agreed that it is important for countries to globally share the results of genetically modified (GM) food safety assessment and subsequently the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is hosting an online database entitled FAO GM Foods Platform (http://www.fao.org/gm-platform) to share the relevant data. As of September 2019, only 23 out of 189 Codex members have been able to share the relevant data. In order to understand the challenges countries may be facing in conducting GM food safety assessment, two separate sets of questionnaires were sent to all 189 Codex members in July 2019. Questionnaire A was sent to 166 Codex members who had not shared any GM food safety assessment result on the platform, while questionnaire B was sent to those 23 Codex members who have been actively sharing the GM food safety assessment results on the Platform. A total of 116 Codex members responded between July and September 2019. All responses are recorded as they were received. While the present document is a simple compilation of the responses, a complete analysis of the results was made and integrated in to another FAO publication entitled Reality of GM food safety: Are we effectively evaluating it? Technical Background Paper for the FAO GM Foods Platform Community Meeting 2019.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Strengthening the capacity on Genetically Modified (GM) food safety assessment and communication in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia
    FAO Technical summary report
    2018
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    Recently the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat has requested support from FAO as the main implementation partner in a programme aimed at facilitating intra-regional trade through harmonization of food safety regulations. The need has been particularly highlighted to implement a programme of trainings focusing on building an understanding of the scientific issues underlying current divergences on regulatory approaches used by COMESA Members in relation to commodities that are important to intra-regional trade. In the last decade, the development has allowed some of the COMESA countries to be engaged in a) research, 2) import or 3) production of Genetically Modified (GM) food products while the level of capacity in evaluating the relevant applications of GM foods are not uniformly conducted among different countries due to the different laws/regulations, procedures/protocols, and/or available expertise/experts. While environmental and socio-economic parameters can differ between countries, GM food safety assessment can be universally identical, following the same procedures of the relevant Codex Alimentarius Guidelines. In 2017 and 2018, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia have worked with FAO to take an approach to assess the status quo and to jointly develop capacity in terms of knowledge and resources. Each of the participating countries was found to be at a different level of proficiency for GM food safety assessment and risk communication, however several common areas for improvement have been identified across all countries visited. During the project, relevant trainings have been provided and they have successfully addressed some of these shortcomings. Further work needs have been identified by the respective participants and national roadmaps were developed for all three countries as one of the concrete outputs of this project. The project achieved a number of other outputs including significant commitment from all three countries to work together to strengthen GM food safety assessment through regional strategy, having the first GM food safety assessment result shared by Kenya to the FAO GM Foods Platform, and mutual exchange of policy documents which are in line with Codex Alimentarius. The outputs from each country were shared among all three countries and the project results have led to the development of a group/regional initiative that would take place in the future, with flexibility to welcome more countries from the region and the continent.

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