As grain is cultivated, harvested, transported and stored, trace amounts of that grain may become mixed with other grain varieties, despite the use of best management practices by industry. As a result, a genetically modified (GM) grain that has not yet been approved by the importing country may unintentionally be present, at low levels, in grain shipments exported to that country. This is what is called low level presence (LLP).
LLP situations can occur when there is a time gap in the authorization of GM crops between the importing and exporting countries, or when developers do not seek authorizations in importing countries. Sources of LLP can vary, including lingering traces of discontinued varieties present in export streams, or unintentional mixing into export streams of crops intended for domestic use.
What is the impact of zero-tolerance for LLP?
As the number of GM crops developed and traded across the globe is increasing, so is the likelihood of LLP. Trends in agricultural innovations, coupled with zero-tolerance for LLP may lead to unnecessary trade disruptions, as shipments containing LLP may be blocked or rejected.
What are we doing?
Recognizing the importance of this issue, the Government of Canada, working in collaboration with its international partners, has explored various approaches where LLP occurrences could be managed to increase trade predictability and transparency. The findings have been summarized in a policy model designed to stimulate international discussions on the development and use of trade-facilitative instruments to manage LLP.
The Government of Canada is also engaging a critical mass of countries on how to minimize unnecessary LLP-related trade disruptions and build consensus on the way forward. It has also created the Global Low Level Presence Initiative (GLI), a group of countries that have endorsed an International Statement on Low Level Presence and committed to working collaboratively to develop international approaches to manage LLP.
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