Working Together on ERA for GM Crops

ILSI Research Foundation, ILSI Japan, and ILSI Korea advance understanding of environmental risk assessment for GM crops under low exposure conditions.

Contributed by Andrew Roberts, PhD, ILSI Research Foundation

In May 2016, the ILSI Research Foundation, ILSI Japan and ILSI Korea hosted a set of events intended to further a longstanding collaboration on environmental risk assessment (ERA) under conditions of low exposure, such as those experienced during importations for food and feed use. These represent the fourth set of activities conducted to address this topic since 2011, and highlight the ability of ILSI organizations to engage in long term cooperative programs to address scientific issues that have an impact on local and regional regulatory issues.

In Korea, Dr. Andrew Roberts from the ILSI Research Foundation’s Center for Environmental Risk Assessment joined Professor Jeffrey Wolt from Iowa State University and Dr. Michael Dornbusch from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator in Australia to provide presentations and participate in a panel discussion at Cheonbuk National University. The program was opened by Professor Dae-Hyuk Kim and featured a presentation from the Korean Rural Devlopment Administration (RDA) on the history, structure, and regulatory considerations in Korea. Prof. Wolt introduced the concepts of problem formulation, Dr. Dornbusch explained how this is used to guide ERA in Australia and Dr. Roberts finished the program with a discussion of how problem formulation can be useful in identifying relevant considerations for low exposure risk assessment.

Dr. Roberts and Dr. Dornbusch then travelled to Japan, where they were joined by Dr. Linda Pollak, a retired researcher from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and maize breeder. The program in Tokyo consisted of two parts. The first was an open symposium attended by around 60 participants from the government, industry and academic institutions in Japan with an interest in biotechnology regulation. Lectures from Japanese scientists as well as the international speakers dealt with regulatory needs in Japan as well as the technical aspects of GM crop risk assessment.  The second activity was a small workshop with invited members of the Japanese scientific committee responsible for reviewing biotechnology applications as well as regulators from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). The program consisted of three panel discussion, addressing issues around assessment endpoints for ERA, the collection of data to support the assessment and the concept of data transportability in support of risk assessment.

For more information about ILSI Research Foundation’s work with ILSI Japan and ILSI Korea, contact Dr. Roberts at:

ILSI News | August 2016
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