Health Canada and Food Standards Australia New Zealand working together on GM food safety

Health Canada and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are working together on the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods. Both have a similar approach when it comes to the safety assessment of these foods:

Working together:

For GM food producers, the initiative may reduce regulatory assessment costs, save time and streamline the GM food approval process.

First steps

Health Canada and FSANZ began the initiative in 2013 by comparing operating procedures and approval processes. They also looked at how each agency conducts a GM food safety assessment. Only minor changes needed to be made to their respective processes for collaboration to be possible.

From this initial work, both agencies agreed that sharing assessments is the best way to achieve benefits.

Next steps

This initiative entered a pilot phase assessing the safety of a GM food that is not yet authorized for use in Canada or Australia and New Zealand.

Health Canada will conduct the assessment of the GM food and FSANZ will review the assessment.

If both agencies are satisfied with the results, they will use the safety assessment to authorize this GM food in their own country.

The pilot will be completed by early 2021. The safety assessment sharing system, including guidance for product developers, will then be finalized.

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