Note: DuPont scientists conducted a review of current scientific literature related to the potential allergenicity of foods developed through biotechnology. This information will be updated from time-to-time. We welcome new scientific information and, of course, your perspective.
All foods, whether developed through conventional means or biotechnology, are potential sources of allergens. Food allergies are relevant to products developed through biotechnology because the improvements often involve adding or changing genes. Genes make proteins, and all food allergens are proteins. Our diet contains hundreds of thousands of proteins, but very few proteins cause food allergies. Even though the incidence of food allergies is low, the potential consequences can be serious. Therefore, biotechnology products are extensively tested for potential allergenic effects before they are marketed.
DuPont treats every introduced protein as a potential allergen and therefore conducts tests during the early stages of product development, before the product is marketed. These tests are done according to procedures developed by scientists and medical experts, and set by the Codex Alimentarious Commission* in 2003. Therefore, most regulatory entities around the world use these tests to determine the potential allergenicity of biotechnology crops.
*Codex Alimentarious Commission, 2003. Alinorm 03/34: Joint FAO/WHO Food Standard Programme, Codex Alimentarious Commission, Twenty-Fifth Session, Rome, Italy, 30 June-5 July, 2003. Appendix III, Guideline for the conduct of food safety assessment of foods derived from recombinant-DNA plants, and Appendix IV, Annex on the assessment of possible allergenicity, pp. 47-60.
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