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A working group for an international task force on standards for foods made from genetically modified organisms kicked off its second meeting Monday in Tokyo to discuss general principles and guidelines for assessing the risks of such foods.

About 60 representatives from 19 countries took part in the meeting of the working group for the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Codex Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology, which will run through Wednesday.

The working group is expected to submit a report to the task force’s second session to be held next March in Japan.

The task force, a body under the 165-member Codex Alimentarius Commission jointly set up by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization, aims to draw up scientific safety standards for GMO foodstuffs by 2003.

The standards will be treated by the World Trade Organization as the de facto international criteria and would thus influence industries related to GMO foods.

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