Genetically Modified Organisms is any organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology techniques. On other words, any plant, animal or microorganism whose genetic material (DNA) has been changed by transferring/receiving of specific DNA from another taxonomically different organism or same organism using modern biotechnology techniques.
In Bhutan we use Living Modified Organism (LMO) and GMO interchangeably. Of course, GMO can be LMO or Non-LMO.
For instance, conventional way of plant breeding is time consuming as it takes lot of time and effort to reach to a target trait of a crop. However, with modern biotechnology techniques scientist can change trait of a crops with a desirable trait (pest resistance, drought tolerant, herbicide resistance, etc.) in short period of time.
Biosafety Act of Bhutan 2015 and its Rules and Regulations regulates GMOs in Bhutan
The Act is called as Biosafety Act in line with the international protocol (Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety).
While the GMOs in viable forms are prohibited, products derived from GMOs in non-viable form is allowed for import for direct use as food, feed and for processing, subject to safety assessment and approval process. The applications to import GMO products are subjected to risk assessment by Biosafety Technical Working Group based on the guidelines on Guideline on Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Plants.pdf (bafra.gov.bt) and http://www.bafra.gov.bt/Risk%20Assessment%20of%20Food%20and%20Feed%20Products%20Derived%20from%20Genetically%20Modified%20Plants.pdf. Based on the technical opinion provided by the Biosafety Technical Working Group, the decision to approve is made by the National Biosafety Board, the highest decision-making body for all Biosafety related activities. As of now, BAFRA has not received any application for import of food products derived from GMOs therefore, we do not have any risk assessment record and no approved GMOs in Bhutan.
As per the Biosafety Rules and Regulations if you are importing approved GMO food products containing GMO more than 5% should be labeled as appropriate. Labelling of GMO do not pertain to safety issues, and it is regulatory decision to provide consumer choice.
Yes, approved GM foods are safe to eat. Before they can be put on the market, government examine rigorous safety assessments of GM foods. Prior to marketing, a developer assesses the safety of GM foods. The results are submitted to the government for approval. This process helps ensure that the GM foods are as safe as similar non-GM foods.
As far as we know GM-Cotton is grown in India and GM-Brinjal is grown in Bangladesh.
Approved GM foods do not cause new allergic reactions. This is because all GM foods are analyzed for potential allergic reactions as part of the GM food safety assessment. For example, people who are not allergic to non-GM soybeans, will not be allergic to GM soybeans.
The primary mandates of Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) is to implement effective biosecurity measures to protect the agriculture farming system including animal health, and public health from risks of entry, establishment and spread of exotic and or notifiable pests and diseases. Thus, a major role is placed…more
Import of animals/plants and their products are allowed into the country with prior approval and obtaining Import Permit from BAFRA. At arrival at the point of entry, the consignment intended for import must be accompanied with a Phytosanitary Certificate for plant consignment and Zoo-sanitary Certificate for animal consignment…more
Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority implements measures to reduce the transmission of animal or plant, pest and diseases from one dzongkhag to another. Hence In-Country Movement Permits are issued
BAFRA facilitates the export of plant and plant products by issuing the certificates as per the requirements of the importing country following the procedure below…more
A person who intends to operate a food business requires a food safety license from BAFRA. BAFRA issues food safety licence to a food business that complies with BAFRA GHP/GMP Criteria for Licensing of food business. To obtain a food safety licence…more
To provide food testing services to the regulators, food businesses and the general public, National Food Testing Laboratory was established, and it has following testing facilities..more
BAFRA provides product certification services to support the farmers, industries and commerce in Bhutan for market access and trade facilitation. BAFRA implements product certification in conformity with ISO IEC 17065:2012 to provide a third party mark of certification. Our certification services will enable you…more
The Biosafety requirements are implemented as per the Biosafety Act of Bhutan 2015, and Biosafety Rules and Regulations 2018. The objectives of this Act is to protect, conserve and safeguard the biodiversity of Bhutan and also to promote the nation’s food and nutrition security and safeguard the animals and human health from unintended effect of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). Read More…
Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Post Box: 1071,
Thimphu, Bhutan, Tel: +975-02-327031/325790 Fax: +975-02-327032/335540