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Japan initiates discussion of food labeling for genome edited foodsqrcode

Jun. 3, 2019

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Jun. 3, 2019
On May 23, 2019, the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) of the Government of Japan (GOJ) held its 54th Food Labeling Committee meeting. The group discussed how products derived from genome editing technology could be labeled. 

During the meeting, committee members expressed an interest in the following areas:

  • Why can we not detect non-GE genome edited products?;
  • Is there a possibility to develop detection technologies in the future?;
  • If a social verification system (e.g., identity preservation) was introduced, could labeling for genome edit product be introduced even without a detection method?; and,
  • Is there a possibility that someone may use genome editing technology to intentionally create crops with toxic substances?

Some committee members commented that:
 
  • Products of genome edit technology could be safer than conventional breeding because genetic mutation induced by genome editing technology is targeted to a specific region of the genome, instead of being induced randomly. In addition, if non-GE genome edited products are technically the same as conventional products derived from natural breeding, it seems unreasonable to have to label genome edited products.
  • As genome editing technology is more precise than conventional breeding, if we require specific labeling for products of genome editing technology it could be argued the policy is unfair.

It is expected that CAA will hold another hearing in June 2019.
Source: USDA

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