Biosafety - BioTrack

Environmental biosafety


Most OECD countries and many non-members have a system of regulatory oversight for products of modern biotechnology (genetically-engineered/transgenic organisms) which are intended for release to the environment. The OECD biosafety work programme aims:

  • to promote international harmonisation;

  • to consider all types of organisms (plants, trees, animals, micro-organisms) that can be the basis of new biotech products. A number of non member economies and observer organisations are associated with the work. Biotechnology products, particularly new crop varieties, are increasingly moving into global trade. In this context, international harmonisation of regulatory oversight in biotechnology will ensure that environmental health and safety aspects are properly evaluated, while limiting non-tariff trade barriers to these products;

  • to encourage information sharing, promote harmonised practices and common approach to safety assessment and regulation. It aims to reduce a duplication of efforts among countries. The outputs are intended to be used by governments (risk and safety assessors, regulators), industry (biotech product developers and producers), other stakeholders, as well as the wider scientific community.

The major outputs of the OECD programme are biosafety Consensus Documents, which provide science-based information for the use in environmental risk/safety assessment. These documents contains elements on the biology of the host species, characteristics of the introduced traits, considerations on possible environmental impacts, and other aspects for facilitating harmonisation.

Another part of the programme is its outreach activity, including the development of BioTrack Online for disseminating the information worldwide and promoting harmonised biosafety frameworks. In addition to the Consensus Documents, Biotrack provides links to regulatory contacts in OECD countries, as well as to information on products via the BioTrack Product Database of modern biotechnology which have been released to the environment.

Brochure: OECD and Risk/Safety Assessment in Modern Biotechnology

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further reading


Related Documents