You are on page 1of 2

Biosafety Agrement:

The agreement on an international biosafety treaty in January 2000 marks an important achievement in

reconciling trade and environmental interests. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety strengthens the right of

importing nations to reject shipments of genetically modified organisms on grounds of environmental safety

or risks to human health. Crucially, it acknowledges the precautionary principle within its environmental risk

assessment procedure. However, the political compromise that led to the adoption of the Protocol failed to

resolve several contentious issues including labelling, liability, and the relationship between the biosafety
regime and the international

Biotechnology and International Law.

The scope and speed of advances in biotechnology have proved challenging for policy-
makers at the national and international levels. New and proposed applications of
biotechnology have prompted ethical and legal dilemmas and debates as to the proper
approach to dealing with risk and scientific uncertainty, property rights over genetic
resources and the appropriate limits to the application of scientific know-how. National
governments have adopted different approaches to these questions, or continue to debate
them, and have sought to see their approaches reflected in an international consensus.
Thus, these discussions have increasingly taken place in international fora, spawning new
international instruments and initiatives. So far, however, in relation to a number of
aspects of biotechnology regulation, consensus has proved rather elusive.


Development of agribiotechnology and biosafety regulations
used to assess safety of genetically modified crops in
Article from: Journal of AOAC International | September 1, 2007 | Nasiruddin, Khondoker Md.; Nasim,
Anwar | Copyright
Ads by Google
Fire and Smoke Curtains
Worldwide Specialists in Fire Curtains for over 25 years
Regulatory Fundamentals
Region-specific regulations US, EU, CAN, Int'l, Japan
Bangladesh is on the verge of adopting genetically modified (GM) crops for commercial cultivation and
consumption as feed and food. Most of the laboratories are engaged in tissue culture and molecular
characterization on plants, whereas some have started living modified organism research with
shortages of trained manpower, infrastructure, and funding. Nutritionally improved Golden Rice,
biotech brinjal, and late blight-resistant potato are in contained trials in a greenhouse, and potato ring
spot virus-resistant papaya is in the process of approval for a field trial. The government has taken
some initiative in support of GM organism research, which include the formation of a Biotechnology
Department in all institutes and the formation of the apex body, the National Task Force Committee on
Biotechnology of Bangladesh under the chairpersonship of the Prime Minister. Biosafety policy
guidelines and related aspects of biotechnology issues have been approved, and the laws are in the
process of being promulgated. Being a party to the Cartagena Protocol, proper biosafety measures are
regulated by the appropriate authority as stated. Although there are no laws made yet directly for
biosafety of GM crops/foods, the relevant laws on agriculture, medicine, food, import, trade,
environment, etc. may suffice and explain the situation.
Bangladesh is a country with diverse terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna. At present, the
government puts priority on advancing biotechnological research and development and approved
national policies and regulations on various aspects of biotechnology. Agriculture biotechnology, a
broad and promising area of science and development of genetically modified (GM) crops, is one
option that developing countries are considering to meet food needs, reduce poverty, and enhance
environmental sustainability through improved productivity. It is 11 years since the world was first
introduced to GM crops. Despite its share of controversies, advocates of the transgenic technology
claim that there is growing acceptance to the commercial cultivation ofthese crops. The global area
under GM crops has increased to 96 million hectares in 2006 in 22 countries, fueled by a double-digit
growth rate over the years (1). India has approved cultivation of biotech (Bt) cotton since 2002 and
attained a 160% increase in production in 2006 compared to 2005.
Millions of people have consumed foods derived from GM plants, mainly maize, soybean, and oilseed
rape, without any observed adverse effects. However, there are concerns that the GM organisms
(GMOs) may pose risk to humans, animals, and the environment because the mixing of genes from
unrelated organisms might create natural imbalance that is not yet clearly understood. There are also
fears that manipulated genes or products thereof, if allowed to move freely in nature, may pose
potential hazards, and also that certain transgenic organisms may be harmful or become harmful to
economic plants, animals, and human beings. Currently available transgenic crops and foods have
been judged safe to eat, and the methods used to test their safety have been deemed appropriate and
are consistent with the views of the World Health Organization (2). To date, no verifiable untoward
toxic or nutritionally deleterious effects resulting from the consumption of foods derived from GM crops
have been discovered anywhere in the world.
Policy research should address all aspects of this process, from product research to approval,
introduction, and marketing, and should help ensure that all steps are undertaken in a transparent
way. Bangladesh has to build up capacity for biosafety and infrastructures suitable for living modified
organism (LMO) research, risk assessment, and management; formulating and implementing
regulatory mechanisms; developing policies; and establishing administrative machinery for regulations.
This paper describes the preset status of biotechnology research and its enabling environment aimed
at the safe and sustainable use of GM crops in Bangladesh.