Short Communication - Journal of Food Nutrition and Health (2023) Volume 6, Issue 5
Regulations of genetically modified and genetically edited foods
Gideon Obasanmi *
- *Corresponding Author:
- Song Wang
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Oklahoma State University
Received:29-Sep-2023, Manuscript No. AAJFNH-23-114682; Editor assigned: 03-Oct-2023,PreQC No. AAJFNH-23-114682 (PQ); Reviewed:18-Oct-2023,QC No. AARRI-23-114682; Revised:23-Oct-2023, Manuscript No. AAJFNH-23-114682(R); Published:30-Oct-2023,DOI:10.35841/aarrgs-6.5.171
Citation: Obasanmi G. Regulations of genetically modified and genetically edited foods. J Food Nutr Health. 2023; 6(4):171
In the ever-evolving world of agriculture and biotechnology, the development and commercialization of genetically modified (GM) and genetically edited (GE) foods have sparked intense debates and discussions. These innovations hold great promise in addressing food security challenges and enhancing crop resilience, but they also raise concerns about safety, environmental impacts, and ethical considerations. To strike a balance between innovation and safeguarding public health and the environment, regulatory bodies around the world have established comprehensive frameworks for the approval and monitoring of GM and GE foods. In this article, we delve into the regulations governing these food technologies. Before we delve into regulations, it's crucial to understand the distinction between genetically modified and genetically edited foods. Genetically Modified Foods (GM): GM foods refer to those whose genetic makeup has been altered using recombinant DNA technology or other genetic engineering techniques. This often involves the introduction of genes from unrelated species to impart specific traits, such as pest resistance or herbicide tolerance, to the crop. Genetically Edited Foods (GE): Genetically edited foods are produced using advanced gene-editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, TALENs, or zinc finger nucleases. These techniques enable precise changes to be made to an organism's DNA, including the deletion, insertion, or modification of specific genes without introducing foreign DNA. .
The regulation of GM and GE foods varies significantly from one country to another, reflecting diverse cultural, political, and scientific perspectives. Below, we explore some of the key regulatory approaches employed in different regions. The United States has adopted a science-based regulatory approach to GM and GE foods. Three key agencies are involved in this process: a. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the safety of GM and GE foods before they can enter the market. Producers must submit data demonstrating the food's safety for consumption. b. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates GM and GE crops engineered to produce pesticides or resist pests. This includes evaluating the potential environmental impacts of these crops. c. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) assesses the plant health and potential environmental effects of GM and GE crops .
In contrast to the U.S., the European Union (EU) takes a more precautionary approach to GM and GE foods. The EU has established stringent regulations that prioritize safety and transparency. GM and GE foods must undergo a rigorous approval process that includes risk assessments, labeling requirements, and public consultation. China, a major player in biotechnology, has its own regulatory framework for GM and GE foods. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) oversees the safety assessment and management of GM crops, while the National Health Commission (NHC) is responsible for assessing the safety of GM and GE foods for human consumption .
Many other countries, including Brazil, Argentina, and Canada, have their own regulatory systems for GM and GE foods. These regulations often align with international standards and scientific principles while considering the unique needs of their agricultural sectors and populations. Recognizing the global nature of food production and trade, several international organizations have developed guidelines and agreements to facilitate the harmonization of regulatory approaches: Codex Alimentarius Commission: This joint venture between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations develops international food standards, including those related to GM and GE foods. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: This international treaty, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, addresses the safe transfer, handling, and use of living modified organisms (LMOs), including GM crops, to protect biodiversity and human health .
While regulations aim to ensure the safe development and deployment of GM and GE foods, they also face several challenges: Rapid Technological Advancements: Gene-editing technologies are evolving at an astonishing pace, raising questions about whether existing regulations can keep up with the speed of innovation. Global Trade Issues: Differing regulatory standards among countries can create trade barriers for GM and GE food producers, leading to economic and diplomatic tensions. Public Perception: Consumer attitudes and concerns about GM and GE foods can influence regulatory decisions. Public engagement and communication are essential to building trust and understanding. Environmental Impact: Assessing the long-term environmental effects of GM and GE crops can be complex, as unintended consequences may only become apparent over time. Ethical Considerations: The ethical implications of manipulating an organism's genetic makeup are subject to ongoing debate and may require additional regulatory attention .
The regulation of genetically modified and genetically edited foods is a complex and evolving field that balances innovation with safety, environmental protection, and ethical considerations. Each country and region has developed its own regulatory framework, reflecting its unique values and priorities. International organizations and agreements strive to harmonize these approaches to facilitate global trade and cooperation. As biotechnology continues to advance, regulators must remain adaptable and proactive to address emerging challenges and ensure that GM and GE foods contribute positively to food security, sustainability, and public well-being. Striking the right balance between promoting innovation and safeguarding health and the environment remains an ongoing and essential endeavor in the world of genetically modified and genetically edited foods.
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