Agricultural Biotechnology Safety Assessment

  • Publication Date :
  • Publication Type : Journal Article
  • Author(s) : McClain S, Jones W, He X, Ladics G, Bartholomaeus A, Raybould A, Lutter P, Xu H, Wang X, Jia X, Chen J
  • Journal Name : Chinese Journal of Preventative Medicine

Chinese Journal of Preventative Medicine. 2015;49(1):78-87

Abstract: Genetically modified (GM) crops were first introduced to farmers in 1995 with the intent to provide better crop yield and meet the increasing demand for food and feed. GM crops have evolved to include a thorough safety evaluation for their use in human food and animal feed. Safety considerations begin at the level of DNA whereby the inserted GM DNA is evaluated for its content, position and stability once placed into the crop genome. The safety of the proteins coded by the inserted DNA and potential effects on the crop are considered, and the purpose is to ensure that the transgenic novel proteins are safe from a toxicity, allergy, and environmental perspective. In addition, the grain that provides the processed food or animal feed is also tested to evaluate its nutritional content and identify unintended effects to the plant composition when warranted. To provide a platform for the safety assessment, the GM crop is compared to non-GM comparators in what is typically referred to as composition equivalence testing. New technologies, such as mass spectrometry and well-designed antibody-based methods, allow better analytical measurements of crop composition, including endogenous allergens. Many of the analytical methods and their intended uses are based on regulatory guidance documents, some of which are outlined in globally recognized documents such as Codex Alimentarius. In certain cases, animal models are recommended by some regulatory agencies in specific countries, but there is typically no hypothesis or justification of their use in testing the safety of GM crops. The quality and standardization of testing methods can be supported, in some cases, by employing good laboratory practices (GLP) and is recognized in China as important to ensure quality data. Although the number of recommended, in some cases, required methods for safety testing are increasing in some regulatory agencies, it should be noted that GM crops registered to date have been shown to be comparable to their nontransgenic counterparts and safe . The crops upon which GM development are based are generally considered safe.

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