As genetically modified (GM) grain is authorised for commercial use and cultivated, harvested, transported and stored, trace amounts of that grain may become mixed with other grain varieties, despite the use of best management practices by industry. As a result, a GM grain that has not yet been approved by the importing country may unintentionally be present, at low levels, in grain shipments exported to that country. This is what is called a low level presence (LLP).
As the number of genetically modified crops developed and traded across the globe is increasing, so is the likelihood of LLP. Trends in agricultural innovations, coupled with zero-tolerance for LLP may lead to unnecessary trade disruptions, as shipments containing LLP may be blocked or rejected. LLP-related trade disruptions make it more difficult to move grain where it is needed and feed a growing global population. It can lead to supply shortages and higher volatility in food prices, which can impact food security.
SANSOR believes that that South Africa’s LLP policies must:
- Prevent unnecessary trade disruptions.
- Support an innovative and competitive agriculture sector
- Uphold safety for humans, animals and the environment.
To achieve this, we are of the opinion that zero presence of commercialised agricultural biotech-derived products in global trade is not practically implementable or achievable due to underlying production constraints and commodity handling systems.
Download SANSOR’s response to the South African approach to low-level presence of genetically modified crops in imported commodities here.