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EFSA Opens Discussion on Allergenicity of GM Feed

by 5m Editor
2 December 2009, at 7:54am

EU - The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has opened a consultation on the assessment of allergenicity of genetically modified (GM) food and feed.

The GMO Panel of EFSA has published for public consultation a draft report updating its assessment of allergenicity of GM plants and microorganisms and derived food and feed. The document, which is an EFSA initiative, was prepared in order to review and update current methods of evaluation and provides conclusions for assessing the allergenic potential of GM plants and microorganisms.

GMOs could contain quantities of new or existing proteins which might cause food allergies in people and animals. EU legislation therefore requires that the allergenicity of GM foods be assessed before they can be placed on the market.

In the report, the GMO Panel makes some new recommendations for assessing the allergenic potential of the proteins contained in GM plants. In particular, it describes how to analyse the sequence of the proteins in order to identify possible similarities with known allergens; how to test the potential of the proteins to bind with specific antibodies – suggesting they could trigger an allergic reaction; and how to test the breakdown of the protein during digestion. Recommendations from this report are aimed at updating and complementing EFSA’s GM allergenicity assessment presently included in its Guidance documents for the risk assessment of GM plants and microorganisms and derived food and feed.

All stakeholders and interested parties will be able to provide their comments until 31 January 2010. In line with its policy on openness and transparency, EFSA will publish on its web site a summary report of the comments received and will take them into consideration before finalising its report.

Further Reading

- For the public consultation on the draft report for assessing the allergenicity of GM plants and microorganisms and derived food and feed, click here.