Japanese Food Safety Experts Gain Biotech Update
- Published on Friday, 19 August 2011 18:27
A team of experts from Japan’s Food Safety Commission returned to Tokyo with a better understanding of the U.S. biotechnology regulatory system, reports Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan.
“Japanese regulators generally make good decisions based on sound science,” said Hamamoto. “The Council mission to the United States helped this group make the connection between regulatory decisions and the realities of commercial seed and grain production.
“The meetings and farm visits also provided a clear idea of the benefits of biotech corn and of the U.S. industry’s compliance with regulations, including refuge requirements.”
Hamamoto said it was helpful to meet with seed industry representatives present to reinforce the seed industry’s willingness to meet product stewardship requirements and comply with U.S. corn grower-Japanese industry agreements on launching new products once they are approved.
Team members met with U.S. regulators at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and at USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and visited CropLife International for briefings on global plant biotechnology and environmental risk assessment.
They then traveled to Texas and Louisiana for meetings with Frito-Lay, farm visits, and a tour of the Zen-Noh export terminal.
Group members appreciated the opportunity to learn about the U.S. government’s biotechnology regulatory framework and U.S. corn production, according to Hamamoto, who cited especially the “friendly and open attitude” of the farmers they met.
The group also heard from FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine about U.S. government policy on transgenic animals. Hamamoto said the briefing is expected to contribute to future harmonization of policies between the U.S. and Japan.
Four of the six team members currently sit on the Food Safety Commission panel that reviews biotechnology products.