The International Seed Federation (ISF) welcomes the announcement of the first voluntary notification of genome edited high-GABA tomato in Japan. The Japanese ministries in charge announced their determination that the genome edited GABA tomato will not be regulated as a genetically modified product.
This is an important step in the implementation of the Japanese policy on genome editing, and it provides opportunities for the seed sector to continue its efforts on plant breeding innovation to contribute to sustainable food systems. With the help of the latest breeding methods, plant breeding will, more than ever, be able to contribute to sustainable agriculture and food security. In this particular example, the development of a high-GABA variety improves the nutritional value of tomato and is expected to have a positive impact at consumer level.
At international and national levels, there is a need for an open discussion on innovation to build understanding and trust in science. Clear, predictable, science-based and risk-based policies and regulations, as well as their effective implementation, are essential in developing quality seeds that are accessible to all and to give farmers access to a full range of choices and solutions to contribute to achieving sustainable food production systems.
The international seed sector recognises that promoting acceptance of plant breeding innovations requires a broad stakeholder effort to engage diverse audiences, including international and national policymakers, agricultural value chain and consumers. ISF and its members will continue to initiate and support a constructive dialogue around the evolving story of plant breeding and how it contributes to a safe, nutritious, sustainable, affordable and diverse food and feed supply.