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GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS: SAFETY ASSESSMENT AND QUALITY TRAITS UNDER DEVELOPMENT

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Author(s): EDSON WATANABE | MARILIA REGINI NUTTI

Journal: Revista Brasileira de Milho e Sorgo
ISSN 1676-689X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2002;
Original page

Keywords: genetically modified foods | food safety | quality

ABSTRACT
The use of toxicological animal models for the safety assessment of compoundssuch as pesticides and food additives is well established. In these cases, animals are directlyfed such compounds at a range of doses some several orders of magnitude greater than theexpected for human consumption and safe intake levels are estimated by the application ofappropriate safety factors. Whole foods, however, due to their variation in composition andnutritional value, and their bulk and effect on satiety, can usually only be fed to animals at lowmultiples of the amounts that might be present in the human diet. Thus, the difficulties of applyingtraditional toxicological tests to whole foods required the development of an alternative approachfor the safety evaluation of genetically modified foods. Such a task was carried out by the OECD, which formulated, in 1993, the concept of substantial equivalence. This article, a shortreview, describes the major components of the safety evaluation of genetically modified foods,which is directed by the establishment of the substantial equivalence. It also briefly presentsother topics related to the subject, such as labeling and the use of antibiotic resistance markergenes during the transformation process. The use of genetic modification in the development ofplants with improved nutritional quality and better post-harvesting characteristics is discussed;examples of products under development in the USA, where thousands of field tests have beenauthorized, are presented herein.
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