The products of agricultural biotechnology, including such common foods as corn and soybeans, are already reaching the consumer marketplace. Consumer exposure to such foods is already fairly significant, particularly in the USA. Thus far, no reports exist regarding allergic reactions to the crops that have been approved for introduction into the food supply. These crops have been modified to only a minor extent by comparison with their traditional counterparts, and the level of expression of new and novel proteins is quite low. Thus, consumer exposure to these novel proteins is very low and unlikely to result in allergic sensitization. Nevertheless, foods produced through agricultural biotechnology must be assessed for safety, including their potential allergenicity, before they may be approved by worldwide regulatory agencies for entry into the food supply. However, the adequacy of the current approach to the assessment of the potential allergenicity of foods produced through agricultural biotechnology has been the subject of considerable scientific and regulatory debate.
University of Nebraska, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Correspondence to Steve L. Taylor, PhD, Professor and Co-Director, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919, USA. Tel: +1 402 472 2833; fax: +1 402 472 1693; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org