Transcript Slide 1

Wine Biotechnology: Background,
Regulation and Commercialization
Viresh P. Ramburan
(PhD Agric MBA)
PUB Wine GMO Round table
SAS Radisson, Cape Town
25 June 2008
• SA Wine Industry
• Investment in Biotechnology
• Position of the SA Wine Industry Council
regarding GMO’s
• International Regulatory perspective (EU
and USA)
• International Labelling perspective
• Commercialization
SA Wine Industry
• 102 000 hectares planted
– Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz
– Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay
• 1044 million litres of wine produced
– (28% export)
• 9th largest producer in the world
• Employment for 256,000 (2003)
• 8.2% of W. Cape GGP (2003)
Source: SAWIS (2003)
R&D in the SA Wine Industry
• Winetech Mission:
– To provide the South African Wine Industry
with a sustainable basis of forefront
technology and human resources in order
to strengthen both local and international
competitiveness and profitability
• Winetech Programmes
– Grapevine Virus Programme, Optimal Grape
Composition, Terroir, Technology Transfer,
Biotechnology Programme
Why Biotechnology?
• Wine is a biotechnology product!
• Tremendous Innovation potential:
– Development of improved/new production practices
and products (long term strategy)
• Capacity development
– Attract scientists from other fields to wine industry
– Train/skill scientists in latest technologies
• International competitiveness
– Align research with global developments
– Develop leadership position in certain areas
• Aligned industry with national and international
– National Biotechnology Strategy
– International developments
Wine and Grapevine Biotechnology
• Aims:
– improvement of viticulture, wine yeast and bacteria for
a quality focused, market directed wine industry
• Not just GMO production!
• Targets:
– Grapevine: Virus resistance, disease resistance,
abiotic stress
– Yeast/Bacteria: Improved quality of wines, health
benefits, process efficiency
• Long term research outcome:
– Assess GM yeast, bacteria and grapevine
SA wine industry position
(October 2006)
• The South African wine industry has supported GMO
research through its Winetech programmes as it is
important to remain on the 'cutting edge' of
international research and technical innovation. Such
research furthermore has to be strictly controlled
through internationally accepted protocols.
• The Council will not support the use of GMO
organisms in the commercial production of wine until
such time as it is clear that this practice is
internationally acceptable.
SA wine industry
Investment in Biotechnology
Position of the SA Wine Industry Council
International Regulatory perspective (EU
and USA)
• International Labeling perspective
• Commercial perspective
Regulation: USA/Canada
• Philosophy:
– No a priori reason to assume that GM is more
risky than conventional methods.
– Each case is considered on its merit-based on
‘substantial equivalence’.
• Risk Assessment Organizations:
– Health Canada
Regulation: EU
• Philosophy:
– GM has an intrinsic level of risk beyond what
is acceptable in non-GM products.
– Reflected in stringent regulatory process,
requirements and labelling
• Risk Asssesment Organizations:
– EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)
EU: Additives and Processing Aids
• Directive 89/107/EC
• Additives=Ingredients: substances added during
processing with a technological purpose,
representing a significant quantity and becoming
an integral part of the final product, e.g., In wine:
tartaric acid, citric acid
• Processing aids: substances added during
processing with a technological purpose and
eliminated during the process or leaves
technical residues which cannot be eliminated,
e.g., In wine: enzymes, bacteria and yeast
EU Directives
• Regulation 1829/2003 (GM Food and Feed
• Processing Aids
– “when a GM micro-organism is used as a processing
aid the food and feed resulting from such production
are considered as not falling under the scope of the
– Implication: No labelling required
• Being tabled again for discussion in July
2008: Will affect use of additives and
processing aids in all food and feed
Labelling trends
International GM Labelling trends
5% GM material permitted
5% (3 main ingredients in product)
0.9% (authorized)
0.5% (not authorized, but favourably
Data adapted from Viljoen et al. (2006), EU Joint
research commission, Gruere and Rao (2007)
Labelling in SA
A foodstuff obtained through certain techniques of genetic
modification shall not be sold unless such foodstuff is labelled to
inform the consumer if:
the composition differs significantly from the corresponding existing
the nutritional value of such a foodstuff differs significantly from the
characteristic nutritional value of the corresponding existing
the mode of storage, preparation or cooking of such a foodstuff
differs significantly from that of the corresponding existing foodstuff;
the foodstuff contains an allergen;
a foodstuff is derived from:
plant material containing animal nucleic acid(s) or protein(s) derived
from a human or from an animal;
animal material containing animal nucleic acid(s) or protein(s)
derived from a human or from a different taxonomic animal family
Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act No. 54 of 1972).
Commercialization: Grapevine
• Grapevine: no commercial releases.
• GM grapevine research in countries listed and South
Africa, Argentina, Chile
GM Field Trials
Fungal resistance
France (3)
Virus resistance
Auxin synthesis
USA (4)
Bacterial resistance
Fungal resistance
Australia (4)
Berry colour
Sugar composition
Flower/fruit development
Commercialization: Wine Yeast
• US FDA in 2003 designated the GM yeast ,
Saccharomyces cerevisae strain ML01 to be a
substance generally recognized as safe (GRAS)
• Conducts malolactic fermentation-negates the
need to add lactic acid bacteria
• Available commercially in USA, Canada,
Commercialization: Wine Yeast
• In January 2006, the USA FDA awarded GRAS
status to Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain
• GM Yeast degrades Urea. Urea+alcohol=Ethyl
carbamate, a carcinogen in humans
• Internationally patented technology
• Plans to commercialize technology