Biotechnology and Food Safety

FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Safety Aspects of Genetically Modified Foods of Plant Origin (2000)

This expert consultation reviewed experience gained in this field since the expert consultation in 1996 and discussed overall safety aspects of food derived from plants that have been genetically modified using recombinant DNA techniques.

The Consultation recognised that the concept of substantial equivalence can be used as a comparative approach focusing on the similarities and differences between the genetically modified food and its conventional counterpart. Simultaneously, it expressed the view that the concept of substantial equivalence is not a safety assessment in itself nor an endpoint but just a starting point of the safety assessment.

The conclusions of this Consultation were used to advance the discussions at the Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology in which the basic ideas of the Consultation were incorporated into the test of Draft Guideline for the Conduct of Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants under elaboration by the Task Force. This Consultation also identified specific areas required for further consideration such as allergenicity of genetically modified foods.

Working papers

  • Biotech 00/03: Topic 1: The Concept of Substantial Equivalence, its Historical Development and Current Use


  • Biotech 00/04: Topic 2: Application of Substantial Equivalence; Data Collection and Analysis


  • Biotech 00/05: Topic 3: Limitations of Substantial Equivalence Regarding the Assessment of Foods Derived from Biotechnology


  • Biotech 00/06: Topic 4: Unpredictable Effect of Genetic Modification (Document not yet available)


  • Biotech 00/07: Topic 5: Profiling Techniques to Identify Differences between Foods Derived from Biotechnology and their Counterparts


  • Biotech 00/08: Topic 6: Safety Testing of Food Additives and Contaminants and the Long Term Evaluation of Foods Produced by Biotechnology


  • Biotech 00/09: Topic 7: Nutritional Implication of Biotechnology (Document not yet available)


  • Biotech 00/10: Topic 8: Evaluation of Foods with Altered Major Components - Tables


  • Biotech 00/11: Topic 9: Evaluation of Foods that have been Nutritionally Enhanced by Biotechnology


  • Biotech 00/12: Topic 10: Potential of Foods from which Unfavourable Components have been Removed


  • Biotech 00/13: Topic 11: Gene Transfer: Mechanisms and Food Safety Risks


  • Biotech 00/14: Topic 12: Marker Genes modified 26 May 2000


  • Biotech 00/15: Topic 13: Allergenicity-Addendum

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