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. However, biotechnology has also raised consumer concerns.
The role of Codex in Biotechnology
For many foods, the level of food safety generally accepted by society reflects the history of their safe consumption by humans. The hazards associated with foods are subjected to the Codex risk analysis process to assess potential risks and, if necessary, to develop approaches to manage these risks.
Codex role in biotechnology is primarily concerned with the risk assessment aspect of food safety. Risk assessment includes a safety assessment, which is designed to identify whether a hazard, nutritional or other safety concern is present, and if present, to gather information on its nature and severity. The safety assessment should include a comparison between the food derived from modern biotechnology and its conventional counterpart focusing on determination of similarities and differences. Codex has developed texts relevant to labelling of foods derived from modern biotechnology.