Regulatory overview - challenges, changes, champions

Naomi Stevens, Aventis CropScience Pty. Ltd., 391-393 Tooronga Road, East Hawthorn, Victoria 3123, Australia.

Today's regulatory climate for genetically enhanced crops (or GMOs) is characterized by Challenges, Changes and Champions!

We are all aware of the issues and concerns relating to GMOs, in short, these include:
• safety to humans, animals and the environment;
• the ethics of meddling with nature, mixing genes from animals and plants;
• our fear of the unknown;
• our rights to know and to choose - which introduces the question of labelling of GMOs and derived products; and lastly,
• the risks and benefits which are associated with the specific products being developed.

The issue is about getting to the facts and having some products and proof that they can deliver what is expected and guaranteed.

There are clearly two main challenges for GMOs - in Regulation and Public Acceptance. These challenges are far reaching and impact at a global, national, state and local level of our activities.

We have characterized these challenges well. We know that regulatory systems are global issues for our GMO food products which are exported around the world, i.e. 70-80% of Australia's food production is exported. The components of global regulatory systems for GMOs are based on environmental safety, food and feed safety, import approvals and chemical registrations (especially for herbicide tolerant or insect resistant crops). From an industry policy perspective we are aiming for global regulatory systems that are transparent, expedient and harmonized.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2000) 15 (2) 80-81.