Focus Areas

Learn more about the trade and transport of ag biotech products.

Developing proper policies and regulations for the biotech crop approvals, trade and low level presence detection is essential for the smooth global trade of crops. GAABT is committed to advocating for policies that can help meet this challenge.

Codex LLP Annex

The Codex LLP Annex was adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food-standard setting body, in 2008. This guidance document outlines the international consensus that there is a fundamental difference with respect to food safety requirements for instances of LLP when a product has been approved for human consumption in at least one country, as opposed to adventitious presence of a product that has not yet been approved by a regulatory authority anywhere in the world.

The LLP Annex was developed to enable importing countries to consider an abbreviated, yet internationally recognized, regulatory review process or risk assessment in instances of LLP. The LLP Annex recognizes that those products are considered “safe” and are fully authorised in one or more countries. Codex members believed the guidance would begin to address and mitigate the problematic impacts of LLP experienced to date.

The Codex LLP Annex calls for the establishment of a publicly accessible online platform hosted by FAO to share information on safety assessment of foods derived from recombinant-DNA plants approved in accordance with the “Codex Guideline for the conduct of food safety assessment of foods derived from recombinant-DNA plants.” This database, called the FAO GM Foods Platform, summarizes the information on which authorising countries base their decisions on for full food safety assessments, consistent with the Codex Plant Guideline. Participating governments agree to supply the information to the database as soon as they authorise a biotech event for commercial production for food, feed, or processing. Importing countries can then consider this information in order to take a proactive decision on LLP.

While various reactive precedents have been established in specific instances, robust proactive policies have yet to be enacted. When these policies are not possible, the Alliance recommends the proactive use of the Codex LLP Annex by importing countries to conduct an LLP risk assessments and assign LLP thresholds for new biotech products. Upon monitoring the FAO database and learning of a new biotech product, importing countries can proactively review the available safety assessment and perform an LLP risk assessment to create a product-specific policy. This could be done before there is any real possibility of the biotech product appearing in import shipments, thereby avoiding potential trade disruption.

The Alliance recommends the proactive use of the Codex LLP Annex by importing countries to conduct an LLP risk assessments and assign LLP thresholds for new biotech products.

Global Low Level Presence Initiative

The Global LLP Initiative grew out of a meeting hosted by the Government of Canada for like-minded, interested countries to work collaboratively on the issue of LLP, with the understanding that finding global solutions to facilitate the management of LLP will reduce the likelihood of trade disruptions and increase transparency and predictability of trade.

Meetings in March and September 2012 and in September 2013 brought together representatives from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mexico, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, United States of America, Uruguay and Vietnam. Governments participating as observers have included: China, Colombia, the European Union, Japan and South Korea. The Initiative issued an international statement on LLP in 2012.

The Alliance supports the government-led efforts in the Global LLP Initiative to establish a harmonised approach to handling LLP and minimizing asynchronous approvals among participating governments.