Biotechnology is a broad term that encompasses a range of techniques for modifying biological organisms. Some of these techniques — artificial selection and hybridization in agriculture — are ancient. Since the 1970s, however, biotechnology has more narrowly referred to laboratory-based procedures to manipulate organic materials and has had wide application in medicine, agriculture, and food science.
In agriculture, modern biotechnology has been increasingly able to achieve plant characteristics long sought through traditional breeding: increased tolerance to environmental stresses (e.g., drought, frost, salt); disease resistance; improved nutritional profiles of plant foods; increased yield; and altered growth or development.
The AACC International Food Biotechnology Committee (IFBiC) was originally founded in 1997 by ILSI and became a leading resource for the science of agricultural biotechnology. The Committee’s mission is to serve as a biotechnology resource that aids science-based decision-making in food and feed crop safety assessments. The Committee’s core programs on harmonization, outreach, and education address issues related to the development, distribution, and safety of foods and feed developed through modern biotechnology.
Although ILSI IFBiC disbanded in 2013, its Crop Composition Database (now hosted within the ILSI Research Foundation) and its extensive library of peer-reviewed articles remain important resources available to the scientific community.
Crop Composition Database
ILSI continues to conduct, summarize, and disseminate science for risk/benefit evaluation of plants derived from modern biotechnology. These programs are active on a global scale: