Crop Production and Trade

GLI - Global Low Level Presence Initiative

Low level presence (LLP) refers to the low levels of recombinant DNA plant materials that have passed a food safety assessment according to the Codex Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants (CAC/GL 45-2003) in one or more countries, but may on occasion be present in food in importing countries in which the food safety of the relevant recombinant-DNA plants has not been determined.

Issues arise due to shared supply chains and the potential for trace amounts of a GM event to be mixed in with other commodities be they a conventionally or GM bred commodity / variety.

The IGTC is working with the government led Global Low Level Presence Initiative (GLI) on this important matter. The GLI was initiated by Canada and now has representation from 14 major grain exporting and importing countries/regions and 4 observer countries and regions.

Moving off of zero tolerance for safety-assessed GM crops is critical to developing predictable trade. 

NPBT - New Plant Breeding Techniques

Since the 1980s, several new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) have been developed with the first publications dating back to 1990. The regulatory developments and especially it’s a-synchronicity pose a major concern to the grain trade.

Several of these new approaches deploy biotechnology. The differences compared to the earlier transgenic approaches lie in the applied methodology and the changes achieved in the genome of the crops.

The fact that different legislations are regulating these NPBT’s in a different fashion is causing legal uncertainty. The new plant varieties derived from one technique may be exempt from regulation in one country, whereas they need to be regulated in another country. This legislative uncertainty is of great concern to plant breeders, biotechnology companies and the overall grain trade.

IGTC will seek alliances with other stakeholders on the matter to deploy a strategy that would enhance a smooth and science based approach to the regulation of the NPBTs, causing the lowest amount of disruption to the grain trade.

CBD – BSP- Convention of Biodiversity - Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) is a Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and was the imperative leading to the formation of IGTC. Commencing development in 2000, the Protocol relates to the transboundary movement in Living Modified Organisms, read GM grain. The Parties to the Protocol meet every two years with the most recent Meeting of the Parties (MOP 7) being held in Korea in early October 2014.

IGTC has advocated strongly at all MOP’s to ensure that the Protocol would not inhibit trade.  At MOP 7, the Parties agreed to a number of decisions that were supported by IGTC.  The MOP 8 meeting is to be held in Mexico in 2016.