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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 2, No. 2, 2002
Bioline Code: nd02013
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2002

John Lupien


Biotechnology has a long history of use in food production and processing. It represents both traditional breeding techniques and the latest techniques based on molecular biology. The increasing development of genetically modified organisms is accompanied by the need for all-necessary controls related to their testing, relevance, use and cross-border movements. Adequate national legislation is necessary to protect the environment, biodiversity, and human health. There is also need to consider how to carry out adequate levels of risk management of genetically modified organisms in the products, mechanisms and instruments for application and control of biotechnology. This paper discusses the work done at the international level to assure the quality and safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology. It explores the code of conduct for biotechnology as it affects the conservation and use of plant genetic resources. Particular biotechnology-related issues have been considered by a series of FAO/WHO expert consultations and workshops. Emphasis is placed on generic work done at the United Nations level on the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and the accompanying Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and more specific work on food and agriculture aspects carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organisation on the UN (FAO), often performed jointly with the World Health Organisation and The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The paper also gives a brief history and scope of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as regards biotechnology and food safety, and implementation of the Joint FAO/WHO food standards. Also explained are Codex Committees such as the Codex Committee on Food Labelling, and the Codex Committee on Food Certification and Inspection Systems, and the interrelationship between FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, the World Trade Organisation and International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

biosafety, genetically modified organisms, food quality and food safety

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