Michele Morgante, Professor of Genetics at the University of Udine, and Cristobal Uauy, Professor at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, focused their speeches on genetic improvement techniques, resulting from the most recent scientific discoveries, and particularly the Genome Editing, a precise intervention technique strongly based on the knowledge of biological and molecular mechanism that guarantees quantity, quality, and sustainability of agricultural crops.
Reinhilde Shoonjans of EFSA, the Food Safety Agency based in Parma, reiterated the organization’s commitment to seize the opportunities and challenges of new technologies to protect European consumers and, at the same time, support food producers.
Luigi Scordamaglia stated: “The Italian food industry has a dual responsibility: one is to defend the uniqueness and distinguishing characteristics of Italian food excellence based on the highest levels of safety, quality and sustainability. And the other is to constantly innovate processes and products to meet the increasing and constantly evolving needs of the consumer. For this purpose, there is a great interest in gene editing, in the possibility of modifying and correcting the genome without any interspecific competition and, in fact, by replicating what happens in nature in normal evolutionary processes but in a quicker and foreseeable way.
Obviously, a concrete assessment will be issued after a thorough analysis of the individual varieties and after the final clarification of the regulatory framework, for which the Court of Justice’s pronouncement is pending. It is important not to open an ideological debate on this topic, as it would not benefit anyone, but to have a serious and calm exchange with solid scientific basis”.
The conference closing remarks were delivered by Stefano Bonaccini, President of Emilia-Romagna Region and by Andrea Olivero, Deputy Minister for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. Mr. Bonaccini reaffirmed the commitment of the Region to continue on the path started in 2015 at the Milan Expo with the World Food Research & Innovation Forum that activated a network of relationships with experts from all over the world and collaborations with important business organizations, research companies and institutions on a global level.
“Through the World Food Research & Innovation Forum – stressed Bonaccini – and on occasions such as this one, we try to respond to future challenges in the agri-food sector, by having discussions with experts from around the world on the new frontiers of research and innovation and to have all the system’s players involved. Today we have talked about innovative biotechnologies and how they can tackle emerging needs: innovations that will have a significant impact on agricultural production and the entire agri-food system in the coming years. In the near future – President Bonaccini continued – food production and consumption will be inevitably more closely linked to sustainability and food security and being able to meet the growing demand for health food that identifies food as a crucial factor in the prevention of diseases and in maintaining health and well-being”
In his speech Bonaccini recalled the main stages of the process started with the World Food Research & Innovation Forum, which, after the debut at the Milano Expo, continued in another important dialogue event last November, in China, within the framework of the Region‘s institutional mission to that great Asian country.
A mission that follows the path of the “New Silk Road” and led to the signing of an agreement with the Guandong Region on some strategic matters such as food safety and traceability, promotion of excellence, internalization of the exhibition system. This agreement follows similar initiatives extended to the protection of the environment, the fight against climate change and sustainable production processes also in agriculture, signed with the State of California (United States) and Guateng (South Africa).
Conference FOOD R-EVOLUTION MADE IN ITALY:
“MAKING THE BEST BETTER”
May 7, 2018 – Cibus Parma