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Country information about GM food safety assessment
Introduction national biosafety regulations:
The Republic of Ecuador´s Constitution of 2008 (articles 15, 281, and 405) state the prohibition of the development, production, possession, marketing, import, transportation, and storage of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) harmful to human health or that pose a threat to food sovereignty or ecosystems. Additionally, it is mentioned that the Ecuador is a nation free of transgenic crops and seeds. Though, there have been Government initiatives to amend the Constitution in order to remove the banning of crops and transgenic seeds. In Ecuador, transgenic are not cultivated. However, imported corn, soy and tomato sauce are produced with GM seeds. According to a June 2010 study by the Ministry of Environment (MAE), there are about 1,493 food products that could potentially contain this type of components in the Ecuadorian market. In 2014, it was established that any product containing GMOs in Ecuador shall declare so in its labeling, according to an amendment made official on October 4 in the Ecuador Regulation of Labeling of processed food products, prepackaged and packages (RTE INEN 022). On the other hand, the business sector expressed concerns that, even if they were in capacity to do so, in Ecuador there are no certified laboratories to analyze for the content of transgenic products; accreditation for laboratories can last up to 15 months. Admittedly, MAE is making efforts to run a training and monitoring campaign of GMOs. In parallel, it has been planned that the Agency for Ensuring Agricultural Quality (Agrocalidad) to open a laboratory to detected GMOs. The Ministry of Environment is currently working on a project to implementation a National Framework of Biosafety, in order to comply with the obligations Ecuador has as part of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and what the Constitution has mandated.
National Biosafety Framework
Within the program, it is planned to carry out studies for this year for the interaction of transgenic crops with species-specific insects, i.e. the aim of this study is to assess the effects a transgenic plant can cause to an insect that feeds on it. Thus, the most representative insects in each species are being selected for this study. At a program level, the presence of transgenic plants is known in the country. However, there are no hard data on food safety and GM crops.
Ecuador, through its Ministry and other authorities is prioritizing the analysis on the existence of transgenic genes in products such as soy, corn, potato, banana, and common foods in local consumption. Thus, the Ministry has equipped labs and trained staff so that these tests can be performed. The laboratories operate in the Ecuadorian Agency for the Assurance of Quality in Agriculture (Agrocalidad) and Ecador´s Coast Polytechic School (ESPOL).
Relevant links to documents and information prepared by the competent authority responsible for the safety assessment