Report from the 1st Iranian National Conference of “Role of Genetically Modified Foods in Supplying Safe Food and Sustainable Development”
Authors: G. Eslami*, B. Hajimohammadi, H. Zandi
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The first Iranian national conference of "Role of Genetically Modified Foods in Supplying Safe Food and Sustainable Development" was held in Yazd, central Iran at 17 February 2016. This event was the first of its own kind in this country organized and financially supported by Research Center for Food Hygiene and Safety, Biosafety Society of Iran, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences (Faculty of Health), and Committee for Genetically Modified Food Safety.
The conference, with the novel theme ‘‘Genetically Modified Foods and Iranian Food Security”, attracted a great number of participators from over the country not only from universities, faculties, research centers and governments, but also from several Iranian food indus-tries. Some official delegates from various organizations attended in the conference, such as Ministry of Health, Cure and Medical Education, Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, Management and Planning Organization of Iran, Agricultural Biotechnology Institute of Iran, Genetic Society of Iran, National Nutrition and Food Technology Institute, Food and Drug Administration, Iranian Society of Food Hygiene and Safety, Iran Biotechnology Information Center, Pasteur Institute, Biotechnology Society of Iran, and Farmer's House Organization, etc. Also, seven professional reporters affiliated to the national radio, TV or newspapers participated for media coverage of all the news and events in the conference.
The major topics of the conference included 1) relation between food security and sustainable development 2) environmental benefits of genetically modified foods 3) the last situation of genetically modified foods in Iran and the world 4) genetic engineering and development of transgenic products 5) safety of genetically modified food 6) biosafety and its national and international laws 7) standards of genetically modified foods 8) economical aspects of genetically modified foods 9) evaluation of some recent stated concerns about genetically modified food.
The conference was begun with welcome speaking by Dr. Mohammad Reza Mirjalili (chairman of the confer-ence), Prof. Behzad Ghareyazie (scientific secretary of the conference) and also Dr. Mohammad Mirmohammadi (governor of Yazd province), who spoke about the major topics and aims of the conference. Then, some special invited lecturer presented orally their scientific opinions and shared their individual experiences in pervious researches, named Dr. Isa Kalantari, Prof. Mansour Omidi, Prof. Mahmoud Tavallayi, Dr. Mottahareh Mohsen Pour, Dr. Eskandar Omidinia, Prof. Masoud Tohidfar, Dr. Seyyed Elyas Mortazavi, Prof. Mohammad Shahedi, Dr. Abdolhossein Kazemi, and Dr. Fahim Dokht Mokhtari. Out of several papers which had been submitted previously to the conference office, 10 of them having high quality were chosen by scientific committee members as elite papers and were published in special issue.
Expert panel was held and headed by Prof. Behzad Ghareyazie, along with seven academic members of scientific committee. It was a fully dynamic conference because of several attractive debates with numerous questions and exchange opinions. At the end of the conference, a few young students who had great executive or/and scientific collaborations in the conference were awarded, sponsored by Biosafety Society of Iran.
An important and ultimate section in this conference was related to designing and presenting of “Resolution Agreement” that was finally signed by the academic participants. Some major topics of the resolution were as follow:
Considering ever increasing need for adequate food, more attempts are necessary to produce genetically modified foods for achieve food security in Iran.
Financial and executive supports of governmental organizations especially Ministry of Health, Cure and Medical Education and Ministry of Agricul-ture Jihad are needed to facilitate assessment and production of genetically modified foods.
Researchers, academicians and also PhD students should be encouraged to design more detailed researches in field of genetically modified foods.
When a new genetically modified food is produced, safety assessment analyses are inevita-ble and should be considered.
There is an instant and critical need for exactly examination and continuous monitoring of organic foods for aflatoxin residue and also fraudulent labeling.
We would like to appreciate all the participators, members of scientific committee, lecturers, reviewers, students and sponsors who attended in the conference. Also, we acknowledge Prof. Amir Houshang Mehrparvar (Deputy of Researches and Technology, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran) for his kindly executive efforts and providing financial supports.
Especial thanks are given to Prof. Mohammad Hassan Ehrampoush (Head of Faculty of Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran) and Prof. Behzad Ghareyazie (Head of Biosafety Society of Iran) which without their sincerely management and leadership, the conference would never have been so attractive and unique.