Food Safety in Tajikistan
Development of Modern Test System for Assessment of Quality and Safety of Food Crops and Food Products in Tajikistan
Tech Area / Field
- AGR-FOD/Food & Nutrition/Agriculture
- BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
- ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
3 Approved without Funding
Institute of Botany, Plant Physiology and Genetics, Tajikistan, Dushanbe
- Food Research Institute, Slovakia, Bratislava
Project summaryFood safety is an increasingly important public health issue. Due to modern biotechnology the variety of food has become extremely complex and multi-component. Only during last 10 years alimentary balance of local population has been frequently changing. Currently market is saturated with new products which increased risk to human health. The growing persity of products at the food market brought about the issue of selective approach to food purchase, i.e. people now need to identify the source of food, cultivating conditions, as well the presence of various substances in product composition. Today the main risk is associated with presence of various toxic, substance, genetically modified sources within foodstuff.
Tajikistan imported more than 70% foodstuffs. The composition of imported food staff varies from seeds, cereal crops, forage, wheat and its products, rice, soybean and soybean products, grouts, the tonics and other beverages. A lot of above mentioned food products has unknown origin and are contented the chemical carries (pectin’s, starch, jelly-components, agars, food colorings, flavorings, stabilizations, which has ions of heavy metals-zinc, ferrous, lead, mercury, etc). Heavy metals such as lead and mercury cause neurological damage in infants and children. It’s well documented known that these chemicals may cause allergies, cancer and mutation impacts on health and environment. The morbidity among rural population of unknown genesis is very high, particularly among children. The increasing of allergies and cancer can be related to such components of food.
A lot of meat products like sausages, pates are contents 80% of soybean protein. Some of the milky products such as cheese, yogurts are contented soybean milk. It’s well known that these soybean products are prepared from genetically modified plant (GMO).
Genetically modified crops are increasingly being introduced into the worlds food supply. Concerns raised by consumers and regulatory agencies in various countries have highlighted the need for reliable and accurate testing for the presence and the amount of GM-components. The detection and identification of GMO represents a relatively new area of diagnostics in which much progress has already been achieved with DNA- and protein-based methods.
Currently, there are two different general approaches used to detect GM-materials:
- GMO detection based on real - time PCR method;
- Protein-based methods.
The special point of view should take to safety assessment of food derived from GM crops. The safety assessment focuses on the new gene products and of whole foods derived from the GM crops. Both intended and potential unintended effects from the genetic modification should take into account. The assessment involves the following steps: (i) characterization of the donor organism from which any recombinant DNA sequences are derived, the transformation process, and the introduce recombinant DNA sequences; (iii) safety assessment of the introduced gene products (proteins and metabolites); and (iv) food safety assessment of whole food derived from, or edible part of, the GM crop. The assessment should focus on those nutrients, toxins, anti-nutrients, allergens, and bioactive constituents in the host plant or in its close relatives; changes in the levels of consumptions of which might affect human health and nutrition. Nutrients are components in a particular food that may have a substantial nutritional impact on the consumer or animal. These may be macro-nutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) or micro-nutrients (mineral and vitamins). A majority of imported food hasn’t proper labels, so it’s necessary to provide expertise on harmful carries in food for health protection.
Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics has all necessary resources for implementation of such project including specialized laboratories to do this work (molecular biology and gene engineering lab and others). The project participants are highly qualified specialists, who are working on the genetics of crop productivity, studying molecular characteristics of genetically modified crop cultures resistant to viruses, drought, water deficiency, and can use the biochemical, molecular-genetics methods as protein analysis, PCR, molecular genotyping, etc.
In order to insure food security in the country it is necessary:
- To improve safety and quality of agricultural produce. The main problem of the country is not the ability of self-sufficient production only, but safety issues. There is an old system of controlling of products safety which does not work in a proper way, and having limited capacity of testing it becomes even worst.
- Strengthening the role of research institutes in carrying out the work on food safety. Developing new methods of detection of GMO, pathogenic bacteria in foodstuff, and allergies properties in crops and their impacts to human health.
Harmonization of the security indices and recommendations. To provide foodstuff analyses according the EU Code of Nutrition, Law on Biological safety and Regulations of WHO and FAO regarding food security, and human health safety as well.
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