AFSI Newsletter - July 2021
Microbial Biotechnology for the European Union
Microbial biotechnology is a broad term for a collection of techniques and technologies used to develop and improve microbial fermentation products. In the food industry, it is used to produce a range of foods, beverages, and their ingredients. On July 8, 2021, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute is convening speakers from across the European Union (EU) to discuss regulatory policies and science communication around low-risk, well-characterized food ingredients that have been derived from genetically modified microbes, algae, and fermented products. This regional EU webinar will feature four 20-minute presentations, followed by a facilitated panel discussion with audience participation.
Understanding the Use and Safety of Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods
A range of foods, beverages, and their ingredients are produced using microbial biotechnology, such as enzymes used to make wine, cheese, beer, and processed products ranging from baked goods to sauces. Other examples are vitamins used to make infant formula similar to human milk, wellness-enhancing products, and food additives for seasoning, flavoring, coloring, or thickening plant-based meat products. AFSI's work to bring increased attention to the development, use, and safety assessment process for microbial biotechnology is supported by a grant from the New Technologies and Production Methods Division at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs area. The goal of these activities is to help countries implement informed polices that meet the need for governments, producers, and consumers to assess and access products produced using microbial biotechnologies.
Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods Webinar Series
The launch event for our program was the Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods Webinar Series, which took place on July 9-17, 2020. Addressing the past, present, and future of microbial biotechnology for novel foods, each of the four webinars in the series allowed for an open discussion on the topics of safety, regulation, and trade of products of microbial biotechnology, enriched with companion papers prepared by each of the expert presenters.

Upcoming Regional Webinar for the EU
AFSI's activities related to microbial biotechnology in 2021 will include a series of international and regional webinars. Microbial Biotechnology for the European Union features speakers from DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., BASF, The Good Food Institute Europe, and WifOR Institute, who will be discussing the science and technology, policy environment, consumer preferences, and trade of products of microbial biotechnology.

From Science and Technology to Customers and Consumers
Markus Wyss of DSM Nutritional Products Ltd. will kick off the program by providing a fundamental understanding of the science behind food and food ingredients derived from microbial biotechnology, including a brief history of their safe use, associated putative risks, and a brief discussion of their risk assessment. In the third talk, Seren Kell of The Good Food Institute Europe will discuss what consumers and customers want in a product, how the industry is meeting consumer desires, as well as recent innovations.

The European Green Deal and Trade
The European Green Deal sets an ambitious agenda for the transformation of the bioeconomy. Elke Duwenig of BASF will deliver a presentation on the opportunities and challenges that this presents for microbial biotechnology, including background on how microbial biotechnology can meet the goals set in the Green Deal and the transformation of the policy framework that will be needed to facilitate the innovation pipeline. Dennis Ostwald, CEO and Founder of WifOR Institute, will cap off the plenary session with an overview of the economics and trade of products of microbial biotechnology, including the value of products of microbial biotechnology used in food and supplements, as well as barriers to trade.

The webinar will conclude with a moderated panel discussion with all four speakers. By bringing experts together to discuss science-based, transparent functional biotechnology regulations of products derived from microbial biotechnology, this event will provide an opportunity to support harmonized regulatory policies and technical requirements related to these products. Whether you plan to attend the webinar live or watch the recordings, we ask that you register for the webinar ahead of time using the link below. All registrants, regardless of their attendance, will receive a link to the video recording within a week after the webinar ends.