Commercial, Safety and Trade Implications Raised by Importation of Genetically Engineered Ingredients, Grain or Whole Foods, for Food, Feed or Processing

Source Organization: Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology

09/09/2006 - In September 2006, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology held a workshop in Washington, D.C., examining issues related to the potential importation into the U.S. of new varieties of genetically engineered (GE) crops and the various implications this could have on the U.S. regulatory system and food industry.

Over the course of the two-day event, food processors, growers, federal regulators, international trade experts and representatives of public interest groups gathered to discuss the many issues that could arise should GE imports become more commonplace and to consider how various stakeholders, including federal regulators, could respond.

View the Commercial, Safety and Trade Implications Raised by Importation of Genetically Engineered Ingredients, Grain or Whole Foods, for Food, Feed or Processing workshop report.

Workshop Agenda

September 7, 2006

Welcome and Overview of PIFB and interest in this topic
-Michael Fernandez – PIFB

Panel 1: What does the U.S. import today? What are we likely to import in the future?

A survey of plant-based products currently imported into the U.S.

-Neilson Conklin, ERS

A survey of biotech research nearing the markets around the world


-Joel Cohen, Science, Technology, and Educational Associates and Jerry Hjelle, Monsanto

Panel 2: How do we move plant-based products from there to here?

An overview from shippers and their customers of current commercial U.S. importation systems for plant-based ingredients, grains, and whole foods for food, feed or processing
Where are the key “pressure points” in the current system for moving and receiving products for retail sale or processing?


-Gary Drimmer, Drimmer and Associates International
-Lulu Kurman, GeneScan

Panel 3: What potential pressures could biotech products bring to bear on stakeholders?

A sampling of U.S. stakeholders interested in the topic of GM imports


-Tom Redick, Global Environmental Ethics Counsel, representing the US Soybean Export Council
-Greg Jaffe, Center for Science in the Public Interest
-Nick Hether, Food Allergy Training and Consulting Services, formerly with Gerber
-Margaret Mellon, Union of Concerned Scientists

Discussion Question

What, if anything, makes imported products of biotechnology unique and why should anyone pay attention to them?

Group Discussion and Identifying Issues

Discussion Question

When thinking about protecting food and environmental safety, what works well and what doesn’t work well in the commercial systems importing foods into the U.S.? How will biotech products change things?

Panel 4: What are the U.S. regulatory agencies’ tools for dealing with imported products, both non-biotech and biotech?

What regulatory measures apply to conventional products?
What are the potential issues that biotech products might bring to the current U.S. regulatory procedures for importation of ingredients, grains, and whole foods for food, feed or processing?


-Shirley Wager-Pagé, USDA PPQ
-Terri Dunahay, USDA BRS
-Stephen Howie, EPA
-Jason Dietz, FDA

Discussion Question

What challenges, if any, currently exist in regulatory and commercial systems for addressing biotech products?

Group Discussion


September 8, 2006

Review and Continued Group Discussion from Day 1

Panel 5: How have other countries addressed biotech imports?

How do other countries deal with GE imports into their markets?
What are U.S. international obligations related to the import of biotech products?


-Elizabeth Jones, USDA FAS
-Craig Thorn, DTB Associates

Discussion Question

What tools are necessary to meet these challenges? How can interested stakeholders work together to solve identified issues?

Group Discussion

Concluding Remarks


Related Areas of Work

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