Food safety and quality
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Browse information by Country › Tunisia

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Focal Point Information

Organization/agency name (Full name):
Centre technique de l'agro-alimentaire
Contact person name:
Physical full address:
12, rue de l'usine, Charguia 2 - 2035- Tunis
Phone number:
Fax number:
Country introduction

Tunisia has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (May 1993) and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (June 2002), and engaged in a process to ensure controlled management of GMOs and derived products to ensure the preservation of biodiversity, the environment and public health, based on the precautionary principle.

In that context Tunisia was assisted with the support from UNEP/GEF (GFL-2328-2716-4953) through Implementation of the National Biosafety Framework for Tunisia , the implementation of the protocol of Cartagena and  to assist Tunisia in putting in place a workable and transparent national Biosafety framework in line with its international obligations and national development priorities; under The local executing agency was the Direction générale de l’environnement et de la qualité de la vie (General directorate of the environment and quality of life, DGEQV) of the Ministry of environment and sustainable development. (The project started on June 11, 2007 and was completed on July 21, 2014).

However a National Biosafety committee was established to carry out the works and which includes three subcommittees (Commission the national legal framework on Biosafety, Committee network laboratories in the investigation, detection and quantification for genetically modified organisms and Committee of communication and public awareness)

All these committees were their main tasks the finalization (or updating) of the draft Law on Biosafety (dealing with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), pathogens and exotic invasive species) and it’s implementing regulations (decrees) until its submission to the competent authorities for ratification, The identification and implementation of help to establish procedures for the accreditation of laboratories that will be responsible for monitoring and surveillance ofGMOs through a framework convention and the preparation of a communication strategy on Biosafety.

Tunisia is currently in the final phase of Biosafety legislations through a draft law on Biosafety in accordance with the provisions of the Cartagena Protocol is (the draft have not been approved yet by competent authorities and decision makers).

The works carried out the Implementation mechanisms of the Protocol of Cartagena and the future law were initiated the creation of national laboratories for the monitoring and quantification of GMOs including the national Genes Bank “BNG” (Ministry of environment and sustainable development), the Technical Agri-Food Center “CTAA” (Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mines), the Central Laboratory of Analysis and Essays “LCAE” (Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mines), and Seed Control Laboratory “LASP” (Ministry of Agriculture).

Tunisia now has developed:

-          Methodologies for risk assessment and management;

-           Statutory forms for applications or requests;

-          Operational manuals for handling requests,

-          Methodologies for monitoring of environmental effects of LMOs;

-          Draft procedures and forms for enforcement actions required with handling, transport, use, transit and release of LMOs;

-          Guide for monitoring and inspection;

Either the technical guides, Tunisia establish a series of training courses on (1) Methods of detection & quantification of GMOs , (2) monitoring and inspection  and (3) Risk assessment and management;

Despite, the laboratories of the network have been equipped in the project but it still needs to be more support for the start of its activity

Also a Draft database developed in synergy with BCH project, BCH establishment in process: data acquisition and the development of website ongoing; 3 meetings with government and main stakeholders (2008); training course on Biotechnology &Biosafety: regulatory regime, institutional, socioeconomics & ethics (2010); Publishing of an interactive CD and booklet on GMO and dissemination among students and stakeholders; training guide on public information and participation drafted; Biosafety week informing and making aware NGO and other stakeholders (2013); creation of the communication and public awareness committee; workshop on Legal framework on Biosafety for 30 members of the National Committee on Biosafety (2014) .



Regulatory framework:
My country is in the process in developing a regulatory framework that requires the competent authority to conduct safety assessment of GM food.
Structure for GM food safety assessment:
My country is in the process in developing a structure for GM food safety assessment.
Supplemental information:
Contact details of the competent authority(s) responsible for the safety assessment and the product applicant:

Tunisia has developed methodologies for risk assessment and management but no studies are conducted for GMOs Risk assessment and until now there is no competent authority officially nominated to be responsible for the risk assessment In Tunisia, there is the National Agency of Sanitary and Environmental Control Products (ANCSEP) that can be charged. The ANCSEP has conducted in 2005-2007 an Exploratory study on the presence of GMOs in raw materials for animal feeding for the assessment of the presence level of GMOs in food in Tunisia. The results are been published in a book in 2007.

GM food safety assessment guidelines:
My country does not conduct safety assessment of GM food but the country has, or the country is in the process of developing national/regional guidelines that are in line with the Codex Guidelines in conducting safety assessment of GM food.
Conduct of GM food safety assessment:
My country has never conducted food safety assessment of GM food but is planning to conduct such assessment in the near future.
Supplemental information on the implementation:
Stacked events
Regulation of stacked events:
There is no regulations in my country on stacked events.
Supplemental information on the stacked events:
Production and trade
GM food/feed production:
My country does not produce any GM food or feed.
GM food/feed imports:
My country allows imports GM food or feed upon authorization.
Supplemental information on the production and trade:
LLP/AP incidents
LLP/AP incidents:
My country does not monitor LLP/AP situations.
Supplemental information on the LLP/AP incidents:
Labelling requirement
Labelling requirement:
My country has a mandatory and positive/negative labeling regulation on GM food.
Supplemental information on the Labelling requirement:
Relevant links to documents and information prepared by the competent authority responsible for the safety assessment
Other relevant documents:
Country information last modified: