A Worldwide Journey: How Low Level Presence (LLP) Policies Facilitate Global Cooperation

A Worldwide Journey: How Low Level Presence (LLP) Policies Facilitate Global Cooperation

September 24, 2020

Each day, tens of millions of bushels of grain are moved internationally, switching hands between thousands of vehicles and vessels as they travel through distributers, ports and customs checkpoints before arriving at their intended customers.

Because this trade network is so vast and interconnected, small amounts of genetically modified (GMO) grains can wind up in countries who’ve not yet approved use of the innovation, even though they have been approved in the country in which they are grown. This can lead to shipping delays, rejections and overall trade uncertainty that contributes to supply shortages and/or increased consumer prices.

So, what can be done to prevent that from happening? The answer is LLP (low level presence) policies that provide consistent and predictable approaches to managing these small amounts of GMO grain.

‘Low level presence’ refers to trace amounts of GMOs in grain or food shipments that has been approved in the country of production but not in country of import. LLP policies help to ensure that the global trade network or the introduction of new products is not disrupted by a country or trading bloc halting the grain trade due to a small amount of a specific GM crop present in the shipment.



Although GM crops go through years of rigorous testing and approvals before being allowed into market, countries rarely adopt and approve them at the same speed. To complicate things further, there is no international agreement that defines specific percentages or quantities of LLP for acceptance —as a result, policies vary from country to country, and trading bloc to trading bloc. Further, some countries implement a zero-tolerance policy for any LLP, an unrealistic benchmark for a global trading system designed for volume, speed and fungibility of grain. Without a comprehensive and transparent policy to manage LLPs, importing countries may incur additional costs and unpredictability as they source needed grain.

The Global Alliance for Ag Biotech Trade (GAABT) produced this helpful video describing the challenge of LLP and how LLP policies can support a reliable trading system.

When countries have practical LLP policies in place, trade can proceed without unnecessary delay and grains can be delivered to ranchers, grocers, bakers and more.

For more information on LLPs and policies, visit gaabt.org.