Report of the 4th ASEAN-ILSI Training Workshop on Safety and Risk Assessment of Agriculture-Related GMOs

This 4th ASEAN-ILSI Training Workshop on Safety and Risk Assessment of Agriculture-Related GMOs aimed to (1) provide training in the safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) foods, leading to greater consistency of GM food safety assessment throughout the ASEAN region and possible harmonization of standards regulating GM foods; (2) provide the scientific background for the adoption of safety assessment methodology for GM foods into the technical infrastructure of the participating countries; and (3) assist in capacity building within the ASEAN region to enhance food safety through continuous training and identification of potential trainers. The safety and risk assessment training was intended to utilize and review the international perspectives on GM food safety assessment, including approaches and guidelines established by CODEX and WHO/FAO, and a review of approval systems adopted internationally. Theoretical and practical experience in safety assessment methodology in Australia/New Zealand, USA and Japan, will also be presented and shared with the participants. Important issues relating to the safety assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and foods derived from them were discussed in the course of the Workshop. These include GMO product development; molecular characterization of the introduced gene; novel proteins; compositional characteristics; nutritional quality; potential for toxicants/anti-nutrients and potential allergenicity of new proteins introduced into a food; and substantial equivalence. The focus of the Workshop was also to provide hands-on exercises with case studies that will give the participants opportunity to assess the safety of GM products. The case studies used to demonstrate human and environmental safety assessment were insect-resistant corn, high oleic acid soybeans and insect-resistant Bollgard II cotton.

This workshop was organized by ILSI Southeast Asia Region with the support of the ASEAN Foundation/ASEAN-Japan Solidarity Fund, ILSI International Food Biotechnology Committee, and the Department of Agriculture, Indonesia, in collaboration with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

The full report can be accessed here.