Biotech Updates

Philippines Clears Gene-edited Bananas Developed to Reduce Food Waste

June 26, 2024

New banana varieties with improved reduced-browning characteristics have been determined as non-genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Philippines. The Certificates of Non-Coverage from JDC No. 01 s. 2021 was granted by the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) on June 21, 2024.

The reduced browning bananas (TRB011001 and TRB011002) were developed by Tropic Biosciences using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system. These bananas have the potential to reduce food waste and CO2 emissions equivalent to removing 2 million cars from the road per year.

The product developer submitted scientific evidence to BPI to obtain the non-coverage certificate. According to BPI, the decision is based on the Technical Consultation for Evaluation and Determination procedure described in DA Memorandum Circular No. 08 s. 2022 Rules and Regulation to Evaluate and Determine when Products of Plant Breeding Innovations (PBls) are Covered under the DOST-DA DENR-DOH-DILG Joint Department Circular No. 01 s. 2021.

BPI has granted the same certification to another reduced browning banana by Tropic in 2023. Sanatech Seed's Sicilian Rouge tomato with high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid was also cleared this year. This determination allows the said gene-edited crops to be imported and cultivated in the country.

View the Certificates of Non-Coverage from JDC No. 01 s.2021 on the Bureau of Plant Industry website.

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