Gene-edited crops are regulated as conventional plants unless they contain foreign DNA, after a form is submitted to determine if they are exempt. Gene edited crops are assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural and Livestock Services (SAG).
In 2017, SAG published a regulatory approach on new breeding techniques (NBTs), stating that gene-edited crops that do not contain “a new combination of genetic material” are not subjected to GMO regulations.
The Minister of Health regulates food products and SAG regulates feeds. Food and feed products that contain genetically engineered ingredients can be imported, but imports of seeds for environmental release are only allowed for seed reproduction that will be re-exported under SAG’s supervision.
Chile is the fifth largest producer of seeds in the world. Seed developers and researchers can use genetic engineering technology for research and export only.
- Camelina (plant in the mustard family used for oil) with decreased omega-6-oil: An application has been submitted to SAG for a gene-edited camelina plant with low linoleic acid, which could be developed into healthier cooking oil.
- Healthier soybean oil: An application has been submitted to SAG for a gene-edited soybean with higher content of oleic acid, which could be developed into healthier cooking oil.
- Maize with increased water tolerance: An application has been submitted to SAG for gene-edited maize that can tolerate more stress from excess water.
2018: Ministries of Agriculture of the South Agricultural Council (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) publish declaration stating they would avoid arbitrary and unjustifiable distinctions between agricultural products obtained by gene editing and those obtained through other methods, share information about the development of products and regulatory frameworks, explore opportunities for regional and international harmonization, and work together including with other countries to avoid obstacles.
2017: SAG published a regulatory approach for NBTs, deciding to regulate them on a case-by-case basis and exempt them from regulation when there is no insertion of foreign genes.
2017: Minister of Agriculture of Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay signed a declaration on new breeding techniques (NBTs), recognizing the need to harmonize approval policies and promote approval of new products developed through biotechnology.
2017: Minister of Agriculture signs a declaration that calls for the need to “intensify the exchange of information in the approval of GM products…” at the XXXIV Ordinary Meeting of the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS) in São Paulo, Brazil.
2015: Resolution 3928 creates a Technical Secretariat and the Advisory Committee for the Release of genetically modified crops, which is tasked with creating biosafety measures for the environment and looking into possible future deregulation.
2013: Ministry of Environment (MOE) states that the use of genetically modified organisms for agricultural purposes different than seed production to export and research or development activities, must be subject to an environmental risk evaluation.
2007: Ministry of Health publishes Resolution 83, setting up a procedure for the evaluation of new food products.
2003: Ministry of Health issues Decree 115 addressing GM Food Labelling. Genetically modified foods require labeling if they are significantly different to the non-GM version of the product (for instance, if there are changes in the nutritional values).
2001: Resolution 1523 modifies the regulations for genetically modified crops, introducing a traceability system, biosafety measures and documentation requirements for all seeds and the fields where they are planted. Law 20116 gives the sub-secretary of Fisheries, Ministry of Economy oversight of the authorization and evaluation of aquatic GMOs, both plants and animals.
1993: Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural and Livestock Service publishes regulations for genetically modified crops.
- Genetic Literacy Project’s FAQ on gene editing
- USDA Biotechnology Annual 2020: Chile
- The regulatory current status of plant breeding technologies in some Latin American and the Caribbean countries