New Zealand’s food standards watchdog is reviewing how rules might apply to a new generation of products that can be altered genetically, but without any introduced DNA.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) … released a consultation paper around how laws should apply to food derived from new breeding techniques, or NBTs.
NBTs are a wide set of new technologies being developed and applied in plant and animal breeding, with similar approaches being explored in medicine.
But there were questions over whether such foods were “food produced using gene technology” and thus could not be sold or used as an ingredient under FSANZ’s current code, unless listed in a special schedule.
That uncertainty was because some of these new techniques could be used to make certain changes to the genome, or genetic make-up, of an organism without permanently introducing any new DNA.
The organism from which the food for sale was obtained could therefore contain genome changes, yet not any new DNA, meaning NBT foods could appear similar to those made using conventional methods.
[Otago University geneticist Professor Peter] Dearden said the new technologies had “enormous potential” but getting their regulation wrong could, on one hand stifle innovation, and on the other cause disquiet about risk.
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