Food safety and quality

Biotechnology and food safety

Biotechnology represents the refinement and extension of the way we produce natural resources for the purpose of human consumption. Today, it allows producers to obtain specific traits such as increased insect resistance or herbicide tolerance, in a controlled manner, making it possible to grow new plants and animals and create desirable, genetically modified food.

The application of modern biotechnology to food and food production, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), genetically modified food, or GM food, provides powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as the food industry. However, while it presents new opportunities and potential benefits, it has also raised consumer concerns and thus posed challenges in ensuring consumer protection.

FAO’s work on biotechnology and food safety

Member Countries, especially developing ones, look to FAO to provide sound and unbiased advice on the safety of GM foods. In collaboration with international bodies such as Codex, FAO has been involved in a wide range of biotechnology related issues, including:

  • Science-based safety evaluation and risk assessment systems to objectively determine the benefits and risks of GM food
  • Recommendations for the labelling of foods obtained through biotechnology
  • Assessing nutritional aspects of food derived from modern biotechnology
  • Detection of protein and/or DNA in GM food

FAO and WHO have provided the scientific basis for the work through a series of scientific expert consultations on the safety and nutritional aspects of GM food. These consultations and other resources on biotechnology and GM foods are available on the FAO GM Foods platform.

FAO GM Foods Platform

The FAO GM Foods Platform is a global online resource that shares information on the safety assessment of foods derived from recombinant-DNA plants authorized by the Codex Alimentarius. For the latest information about the work of FAO on biotechnology and GM Foods, visit the FAO GM Foods platform.