EFSA: New Tests Needed to Assess the Allergenicity of GM Foods

News alert from the August 2010 edition of “The Scoop,” an e-newsletter produced by our friends at The Organic Center (to sign up for your own copy, please click here).

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms has issued a new “Opinion” on the allergenicity of GM food and feed. It provides a comprehensive, up-to-date assessment of the risk of allergenic proteins appearing in GM foods and outlines the promising new tools emerging to assess allergenic risk.

Several aspects of allergenicity risk assessment are emphasized including –

* Need to search for sequence homology and structural similarities to known allergens,
* IgE binding tests and testing of the digestibility of newly expressed proteins, and
* Need for and uses of 3-dimensional structural analyses of allergens, profiling technology, exposure assessment and post-market monitoring.

The background information, scientific evidence and rationale on which the conclusions and recommendations are based, can be found in six detailed annexes.

It is worth noting that none of the currently planted GE crops have been subjected to the type of studies and in-depth assessment called for in this opinion.