How are genetically engineered crops regulated around the world?

Credit: Labiotech
Credit: Labiotech

By employing precise, efficient, yet affordable genome editing techniques, new genome edited crops are entering country regulatory schemes for commercialization. 

Countries which currently dominate in cultivating and exporting GM crops are quickly recognizing different types of gene-edited products by comparing the products to conventionally bred varieties. This nuanced legislative development, first implemented in Argentina, and soon followed by many, shows considerable shifts in the landscape of agricultural biotechnology products. 

[T]here is a diverse range of legislation and frameworks on how best to regulate GM crop cultivation. Even within continents or larger geographic regions, the local approaches can vary widely, illustrated by the diversity across Asia (See section “Asia and the Pacific” and Table 5). Diversity is also found when there are similar outcomes but different approaches to regulation, as seen in the United States and Canada. 

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Interestingly, several countries have distinct rules regarding cultivation of GM crops which only allow the production of GM seeds for export and prohibit domestic use. Remarkably, some of these countries then allow for the import of GM crop products as food and feed (see for example Ecuador, Table 3).

In general, the countries which currently dominate the cultivation and export of GM crops have had a framework that is speedy, easy to understand and comply with, and enforceable.

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