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From Okinawa 2000 to Genoa 2001

Issue Performance Assessment
Biotechnology/Food Safety

Overall Grade: B

The G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, produced some unexpected discussion concerning food safety. This is suprising as food safety was virtually absent from the pre-summit dialogue. While the acknowledgement of this issue in the communique is significant, the summit seemed to produce little in the way of firm decisions about food safety regulation. The G8 leaders admitted the need for transparency and openness and stressed the need to provide consumers with relevant information on the safety of food products. The communique applauded the accomplishments of the Bangkok conference as well as creation of the joint FAO/WHO Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators. It did not, however, indicate that the G8 would assume a position of leadership in the area of food safety, but rather implicitly suggested it would continue to support the intiatives of other organizations such as the OECD. Furthermore, the summit leaders failed to broach the broader and contentious issue of biotechnology. Thus, while it is significant that food safety/biotechnology was identified as an important issue for discussion, the summit did not seem to produce anything new or substantive. In this sense, the issue of food safety and biotechnology seemed to be left to be delt with at another summit.

Prepared by: Jennifer Peer of the G8 Research Group.

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