Food Safety and Environmental Problems1


a Association for Farmers Rights Defense, AFRD President Country Representative and National Coordinator in Caucasus Countries of the Coalition for Sustained Excellence in Food and Health Protection, GCSE e-mail:
b Association for Farmers Rights Defense, AFRD, General Manager, e-mail:

Abstract At the beginning of the 21st Century, we are facing some major problems: One is the environmental problems, such as: pollution, acid rains the global warming, climate change, loss Agro biodiversity and ozone layer depletion; GMO and LMO’s, Therefore providing Food testing work to monitor our food supply for hazardous chemicals and contaminants to ensure human and animal safety, often means testing hundreds of samples for hundreds of chemical compounds every day, and the results must be turned around very rapidly. To meet the steady demand of food supply, application of fertilizer is indispensable in modern agriculture. Role of fertilizers has already been proven by many countries with green revolution and by attaining food self-sufficiency within short period of time. Actually, application of synthetic/chemical fertilizers not only supplies essential nutrients to food crops but also provides them in an easily available manner. Therefore, these fertilizers can quickly enhance the growth and productivity of food crops and are quick to gain popularity. However, extensive use of such fertilizer leads to serious environmental concerns. Nitrate leaching and surface/groundwater pollution due to increased use of fertilizer is directly related to human health problems. Global agricultural production should focus on both food and nutrition security. Ensuring that, sufficient nutritious food is available and accessible, and produced in a sustainable manner, is a great challenge for the agricultural sector. Output will need to be increased while managing scarce natural resources, reducing carbon intensity and adverse environmental impacts throughout the food chain, enhancing the provision of environmental services such as carbon sequestration and flood and drought control, and conserving biodiversity. Agricultural intensification is the answer, but it must be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Keywords GMO and LMO risk management; food Safety, detection, analysis

1  Introduction or Background

Higher use efficiency of fertilizers and other nutrient sources can maintain or improve soil fertility and increase yields while minimizing environmental impacts. However, world agriculture is dominated by smallholders, many who find it difficult to keep up productivity with rising demand for food, feed, fiber and biofuels. The advent of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) has brought about new opportunities and concerns. This presentation will describe new innovations in Food Safety Analysis and workflows that will empower labs to increase their throughput, improve sensitivity, and expand their testing portfolio to cover a wider range of food safety applications than ever before imagined.

Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis. Food Safety laboratories around the world are trying to find ways to minimize samples preparation and enhance productivity. The adaptation of modern Digital Real Time PCR instrumentations desired due to the high sensitivity and selectivity they provide. Theo objective of this presentation is to describe an approach to evaluate in Georgia the probability, traceability and risks of the spread of GM Crop and related Food Safety issues, GMO and LMO plants can pose serious threats on conventional agricultural plants. This research provides the basic phytosanitary norms and must be regulated within the framework of plant health. Since Georgia has signed the Cartagena Protocol to identify available options for measures to reduce possible risks there must be necessary, appropriate and effective regulations, control and monitoring as. In some cases, these threats are caused by direct and indirect damage that affects plants primarily by processes such as competition for space and resources or change of habitats, e.g., by altering soil biochemistry or safe groundwater regime. Risk analysis for quarantine includes analysis of environmental risks and living modified organisms by using plants biodiversity conservation methods and indicators and other useful tools. One of the challenges to assess the risks of GMO and LMO plants to other plants and the environment is the identification of the plant’s potential for invasiveness. In addition, the approach to the economic impact assessment is different in comparison to the ‘traditional’ plants.

Habitats and ecosystems can be protected from the consequences of the introduction of GMO Crop and LMO Seeds may have to be protected as they are essential for the survival of genetic plant materials. Regarding LMOs, Association for Farmers Rights Defense, AFRD Research Team has identified potential risks in Georgia, that may need to be considered, including: new genetic characteristics that may cause invasiveness (drought resistance, herbicide tolerance, pest resistance); gene flow (transfer of genes to wild relatives or other compatible species), and effects on non-target organisms (beneficial insects or birds). LMOs in turn can directly or indirectly cause harm to wild and medical plants, in managed or unmanaged environments, and specifically includes potential negative effects on biodiversity and wild flora. Potential phytosanitary risks for LMOs may include: changes in adaptive characteristics which may increase the potential for introduction or spread; adverse effects of gene flow or gene transfer; adverse effects on non-target organisms; genotypic and phenotypic instability and other injurious effects. Phytosanitary risk may result from certain traits introduced into the organism, such as those that increase the potential for establishment and spread, or from inserted gene sequences that do not alter the pest characteristics of the organism but that might act independently of the organism or have unintended consequences. We think, LMOs are essentially considered a potential phytosanitary risk/quarantine pest. Despite the growing recognition of food safety as a public health priority and as an essential requirement for food trade, investment to ensure safety of the food supply is still often limited and not well planned in many developing countries, especially in Georgia, where Food Safety Control Systems is s not elaborated and Draft Bill – Codex on Food, Animals Feeding, Phytosanitary and Veterinary’’ still do not offers guidance for the Parliament to reviewing and consider the need to modify existing legislation.

2  The Case Study

The development of food safety policies brings into play a range of factors including – international regulations and accepted approaches, private sector and consumer interests and requirements, political will and socioeconomic issues – in addition to science and risk assessments. Often all these factors are weighed against one another in managing food safety hazards and determining the most acceptable level of risk. The objective of reduced risk can be achieved most effectively by the principle of prevention throughout the production, processing and marketing chain. To achieve maximum consumer protection it is essential that safety and quality be built into food products from production through to consumption. This calls for a comprehensive and integrated farm-to-fork approach in which the producer, trader, processor, transporter, vendor, and consumer all play a vital role in ensuring food safety and quality. It is impossible to provide adequate protection to the consumer by merely sampling and analyzing the final product. The introduction of analytical quality assurance programmes and accreditation of the reference laboratory by an appropriate accreditation agency within the country or from outside, enables the laboratory to improve its performance and to ensure reliability, accuracy and repeatability of its results. Prescription of official methods of sampling and analysis also can support this effort.

2.1  The role of the project

A food safety hazard is an agent or condition that could potentially cause an adverse human health effect. Agents are either in or on food and can be biological, chemical, or physical. Furthermore, the condition of the food itself can also be hazardous. Food safety hazards can also be found in or on animal feed and feed ingredients. Since these may be transferred to food through the consumption of animal products, they can also cause adverse human health effects. Sensitivity analysis is a tool that can help risk managers select those controls that best achieve risk management goals. Sensitivity analysis, as a scientific process, shows the effects of changes in various inputs (data or assumptions) on the outcomes of a risk assessment. One of the most useful insights gained from a sensitivity analysis is estimating how much the uncertainty or variability associated with each input factor contributes to the overall uncertainty and variability in the risk estimate. Input distributions where uncertainty has the greatest impact on the outcome can be identified and this process also can help set priorities for research to reduce uncertainty. Model validations the process of evaluating a simulation model used in a risk assessment for its accuracy in representing a food safety system, e.g. by comparing model predictions of food-borne disease with human surveillance data, or by comparing model predictions on hazard levels at intermediate steps in the food production chain with actual monitoring data.

Food Risk analysis at every stage of production and packaging is thus indispensable and must precede any preventive action. In the context of food safety, it is important founders and the difference between the terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk specifically’:

  • Food safety
  • Food safety hazard
  • Food safety risk

This section covers our research Project with Joint Research Center, Euro Commission and TUBITAK (Turkey) for providing both quantitative and qualitative identification of Food and Feed samples. It included event-specific, construct-specific and gene-specific primer pairs which identify more than one GMO. The qualitative frequency per analyze refers to the ratio between the number of times the specific primer pair was reported for qualitative identification of the GMO and the total number of primer pairs received for the quantitative identification section.

Major AchievementsGMO Qualitative Analysis reports presence of GMO, but will not quantify how much GMO is present. Genetic ID’s limit of detection is 0.01%.
Lessons learnedGMO Real-Time Quantitative Analysis reports the quantitative results of GMO content. Genetic ID’s limit of detection is 0.01% and limit of quantification is 0.05%.
Steps for the futureGMO Qualitative Analysis reports presence or absence of GMO, but will not quantify how much GMO is present. Genetic ID’s limit of detection is 0.01%.

3  Conclusions

We used quantitative PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) based DNA detection technology to determine the amount of GMO present in samples. With the appropriate primer and probe combination, quantitative real time PCR can detect precise amounts of GMO in samples. Qualitative PCR and ELISA (Enzyme Linked immune absorbent Assay) protein detection methods can also be used to determine the presence or absence of the transgenic events.

We have developed in TUBITAK Food Safety Institute DNA extraction procedures for a variety of sample types including seed, feed and finished food products. It was established as a GMO analysis system even for highly processed food products. Our laboratories provide protein based ELISA tests to verify the presence of novel proteins encoded by specific inserted DNA sequences. We have developed our own system of monitoring GMOs, understanding common traits to detect as many GMOs in a single test and devised a set of screens and pricing structure which enables us to test for all known GMOs for most crops. Simply tell us the nature of the sample and we will advise which test is most applicable.

Food Safety is the result of a global, integrated and partner-oriented approach throughout the entire chain. In order to guarantee good traceability, every operator in the chain must identify their products in a unique way and record their destinations and the links between incoming and outgoing products in databases for future GMO content analyses. In order to achieve this, each link is responsible for ensuring that data is correct and for guaranteeing that they are accessible to other operators in the Food Chain.


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Nadiradze, K. (2014): Food Safety and Environmental Problems. In: Planet@Risk, 2(4), Special Issue on One Health: 285-288, Davos: Global Risk Forum GRF Davos.

This article is based on a presentation given during the 2nd GRF Davos One Health Summit 2013, held 17-20 November 2013 in Davos, Switzerland (