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Low Level Presence Factsheet

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What is low level presence?

As genetically modified (GM) grain is authorized for commercial use and 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 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).

What is the impact of zero-tolerance for LLP?

As the number of genetically modified 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.

LLP-related trade disruptions make it more difficult to move grain where it is needed and feed a growing global population. It can lead to supply shortages and higher volatility in food prices, which can impact food security.

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Exporting country: All grains grown have been authorized following rigorous safety assessments by government authorities.

As grain moves from the farm and the elevator and is transported to export terminals, there is a possibility that small amounts of grains not yet approved in the imported country, LLP grains, may make their way in the grain shipment.

Result: Grain shipment containing low level presence may be stopped in importing country if that country has zero tolerance for low level presence

This may have an impact on trade, prices and innovation.

Policy model for the management of low level presence of genetically modified crop material in imported grain, food and feed 

What is the policy model?

The policy model is designed to stimulate domestic and international discussions on the management of LLP.

It provides guidance to policymakers and regulators on how to minimize unnecessary LLP-related trade disruptions while ensuring that the safety of humans, animals and the environment is protected.

Why was it developed?

The policy model was created to support the development of LLP policy solutions that:

  • uphold safety for humans, animals and the environment
  • prevent unnecessary trade disruptions
  • support an innovative and competitive agriculture sector

How does it work?

The policy model applies to whole grain, food and feed products. It proposes a risk-management approach based on two levels:

  • A level of 0.2%, which would address situations of LLP resulting from dust, lingering traces of discontinued GM varieties, or foreign GM crops intended for domestic use only ; and,
  • A compliance threshold of 3%, which would address LLP situations resulting from the commercialization of a GM crop not yet approved in the importing country.

To be considered LLP under the policy model, an unauthorized GM crop should meet two criteria:

  • The GM crop should be approved for food use in at least one country, in accordance with Codex Guidelines; and
  • Test methodologies and reference materials should have been provided to the importing country to facilitate monitoring.

The following two additional criteria should be met for the compliance threshold to apply to LLP levels between 0.2% and 3%:

  • Application for the authorization of the GM crop should have been provided to the importing country; and,
  • Applicable LLP risk assessment(s) conducted by the importing country should have determined, in advance, that the GM crop is unlikely to pose a risk.
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LLP Policy Model

To be considered low level presence under the policy model, concentrations of a genetically modified crop between 0% and 3% must meet two criteria:

  • Genetically modified crop approved for food use in one country, in accordance with Codex Guidelines
  • Detection method and sample material of genetically modified crop provided to importing country

Concentrations of a genetically modified crop between 0.2% and 3% must meet two additional criteria:

  • Data package for authorization of genetically modified crop submitted to importing country
  • Proactive LLP risk assessments completed by importing country

Over 3%:

  • Policy does not apply, case by case assessment

For more information visit www.agr.gc.ca/llp or contact us at aafc.llp-pfc.aac@canada.ca.

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Low Level Presence Factsheet (PDF version, 235 KB)

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