Biotechnology and Food Safety

FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Allergenicity of Genetically Modified Foods (2001)

The Consultation was a follow-up of the Joint FAO/WHO Consultation in 2000 and focused on the question of allergenicity of genetically modified foods.

Allergenicity is one of the most frequently asked questions in connection with the safety of genetically modified foods. Therefore it was urgently required to establish a reliable methodology to assess the allergenicity of new foods produced by the recombinant DNA technique.

The Consultation reviewed the decision tree developed by OECD for the evaluation of the allergenicity of genetically modified foods. It proposed a revised decision tree taking into account development advances in this field.

The Consultation agreed that the safety assessment of foods derived from biotechnology requires an integrated and stepwise, case-by-case approach, and that this method also be applied to the evaluation of the allergenicity of food derived from biotechnology. Additionally, the Consultation emphasized that all foods derived from biotechnology must be assessed for allergenic potential.

Working papers

  • Biotech 01/02: Questions about the Assessment of Allergenicity of Foods Derived from Modern Biotechnology


  • Biotech 01/03: Overview of the Current Approach to Determine the Allergenicity of Genetically Modified Foods (Decision Tree Approach)


  • Biotech 01/04: Commonly Known Allergenic Sources (IgE-Mediatd and non IgE-Mediated Food Allergens as well as Environmental Allergens)


  • Biotech 01/05: Allergen Databases/Class of Proteins/Allergen Function


  • Biotech 01/06: Sequence Homology and Allergen Structure


  • Biotech 01/07: Stability of Known Allergens (Digestive and Heat Stability)


  • Biotech 01/08: Solid phase Immunoassay, Immunoreactivity and Other Criteria


  • Biotech 01/09: Prevalence of Allergen in Food and Threshold for Sensitization


  • Biotech 01/10: Animal Model for Allergenicity Assessment


  • Biotech 01/11: Post-market Surveillance of Allergenicity

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