Regulatory systems

Food safety and biosafety regulations should reflect international agreements and a given society's acceptable risk levels, including the risks associated with not using biotechnology to achieve desired goals.

The principles and practices for assessing the risks on a case-by-case basis are well established in most OECD countries and several emerging economies. These principles and practices have been summarized in a series of OECD reports published over the past decade or more. National, regional and international guidelines for risk assessment and risk management provide a basis for national regulatory systems. Biosafety guidelines are available from several international organizations, including the OECD, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the World Bank.

Regulatory trends to govern the safe use of biotechnology, to date, include undertaking scientifically based, case-by-case hazard identification and risk assessments; regulating the end-product rather than the production process itself; developing a regulatory framework that builds on existing institutions rather than establishing new ones; and building in flexibility to reduce regulation of products after they have been demonstrated to be of low risk.

All sections of society should be included directly in the debate and decision-making about technological change, the risks of that change and the consequences of no change or alternative kinds of change.

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