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Safety Considerations of DNA in Food

Jonas D.A.a · Elmadfa I.b · Engel K.-H.c · Heller K.J.d · Kozianowski G.e · König A.f · Müller D.g · Narbonne J.F.h · Wackernagel W.i · Kleiner J.k

Author affiliations

aIndependent Consultant, Ceredigion, UK; bUniversity of Vienna, Institute of Nutritional Sciences, Vienna, Austria; cTechnische Universität München, Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Lebensmitteltechnologie, Freising Weihenstephan, dFederal Dairy Research Centre, Kiel, eSüdzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt, Zentralabteilung Forschung, Entwicklung und Services, Obrigheim, Germany; fHarvard University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Cambridge, Mass., USA; gProcter & Gamble Service GmbH, Eschborn, Germany; hUniversité de Bordeaux, Stalence Cedex, France; iUniversität Oldenburg Genetik, Fachbereich Biologie, Oldenburg, Germany; kILSI Europe, Brussels, Belgium

Corresponding Author

Dr. J. Kleiner

Senior Scientist ILSI Europe

83, Avenue E. Monnier, Box 6

B–1200 Brussels (Belgium)

Tel. +32 2 77 100 14, Fax +32 2 76 200 44, E-Mail jkleiner@ilsieurope.be

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Ann Nutr Metab 2001;45:235–254

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Recombinant DNA techniques are capable of introducing genetic changes into food organisms that are more predictable than those introduced through conventional breeding techniques. This review discusses whether the consumption of DNA in approved novel foods and novel food ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be regarded as being as safe as the consumption of DNA in existing foods. It concludes that DNA from GMOs is equivalent to DNA from existing food organisms that has always been consumed with human diets. Any risks associated with the consumption of DNA will remain, irrespective of its origin, because the body handles all DNA in the same way. The breakdown of DNA during food processing and passage through the gastrointestinal tract reduces the likelihood that intact genes capable of encoding foreign proteins will be transferred to gut microflora. The review does not specifically address food safety issues arising from the consumption of viable genetically modified microorganisms but it shows that the likelihood of transfer and functional integration of DNA from ingested food by gut microflora and/or human cells is minimal. Information reviewed does not indicate any safety concerns associated with the ingestion of DNA per se from GMOs resulting from the use of currently available recombinant DNA techniques in the food chain.

© 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Published online: December 24, 2001
Issue release date: November – December

Number of Print Pages: 20
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0250-6807 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9697 (Online)

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