Establishing national biosafety regulatory systems

Suggestions to improve the operation of the South African biosafety regulatory system

Countries around the world are in the process of establishing national biosafety regulatory systems to address issues surrounding living modified organisms (LMOs). The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (“the Protocol”) is a major driving force behind countries establishing those systems. This international agreement attempts to set forth both the scientific and legal boundaries for those systems, as well as a minimum set of rules and procedures. While the Protocol is a good model for certain portions of a national biosafety regulatory system, it provides little guidance on several issues essential to biosafety regulation. Addressing the biosafety issues that are not answered by the Protocol will help countries establish comprehensive and workable biosafety regulatory systems that both minimize risk and allow safe products to be marketed.

Jaffe, Gregory
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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