Food safety

WHO study on modern food biotechnology, human health and development

Questionnaire used in the study

1. Product Research and Development:

  • What main classes of traits or combination of traits produced through modern biotechnology are likely to be commercialized within the next 5 years?
  • What new classes of traits or combination of traits for food produced from modern biotechnology are in the pipeline of research and development?
  • Which new methods of production or design of organisms developed through modern biotechnology can be envisaged?

2. Impact on Human Health:

What evidence is there linking the direct or indirect effects on human health and development to the use of modern biotechnology in the production of foods and food ingredients?

Evidence is especially requested in the fields of:

  • Food safety (including changes in constituents i.e. nutritional changes, changes in natural toxicants);
  • Are there established systems for post marketing surveillance/monitoring of products and how such procedures could be applied to foods derived from modern biotechnology;
  • Environmental effects (including potential effects on health, impact on health resulting from changes in pesticide use, water and fuel usage, nature protection, sustainable agriculture or biodiversity and regional variation within).

3. Food security, cost and access to modern food biotechnology:

What evidence is there relating the effects on human health and development to:

  • The impact of modern biotechnology on food security issues including sustainability and post harvest losses considering different regional situations?
  • The cost and access to modern methods of biotechnology for food production, processing, storage and transport considering also different national, regional and international regulations, intellectual property rights, costs to farmers, industrialization of food production and corporatization?

What evidence is there, that such impacts might be addressed at a national, regional or international level?

4. Ethical, legal and social issues:

  • What is the cost of regulation on biotechnology, what would the cost be in the absence of regulations for society?
  • What impact does modern food biotechnology have on the health and welfare of civil society, cultural, religious or ethical issues?
  • What procedures are established to ensure transparency and accountability of risk assessment and risk management of modern food biotechnology?
  • What evidence is there on the value of integrative approaches for assessing the impact of modern food biotechnology?

5. Capacity building:

  • What capacity building initiatives exist at the regional and/or international level, including bi-national agreements and private sector collaboration, for the development of expertise in relation to the safe use and application of modern biotechnology?
  • What additional capacity needs can be identified for the use of modern food biotechnology, particularly in the developing countries?
  • What, if any, contribution could an international expert committee system for risk assessment and risk management for modern food biotechnology which complemented national regulatory capacities?