Role of animal feeding studies in the safety assessment of genetically modified foods
In June 2007, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) convened an expert panel to develop guidance and recommendations on the role animal feeding studies using whole foods can play in the safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) foods. We hosted a workshop as part of our ongoing review of procedures for safety assessment to ensure that recent scientific and regulatory developments are reflected in our process.
A report of the workshop is available here
The expert panel recommended that we should continue our case-by-case assessment of GM foods on the basis of best available science. The panel noted that whole-food animal feeding studies may be informative in some limited circumstances, but that any potential adverse health effects can generally be identified by a scientifically informed comparative assessment of the GM food against its conventional counterpart. We should evaluate the results of relevant animal feeding studies, where available, while considering the potential limitations in interpretation of the results.
FSANZ’s acting Chief Scientist, Dr Paul Brent, said: ‘The panel’s conclusions and recommendations are largely consistent with our current practices. I would like to thank the panel members for the constructive discussion and outcomes. These will help FSANZ continue to evaluate GM food safety according to international best practice.
‘We do not generally require food manufacturers to submit feeding studies in animals as part of an application for a GM food approval. Where the results of such studies are available, we evaluate them as supporting information. However, we acknowledge that there may be future GM applications where the results of such studies may be useful and, in those cases, we may require such studies.
‘We have completed a review of our guidelines for the safety assessment of GM foods, including the role of animal feeding studies, and have incorporated the panel’s recommendations into our guidance document.’
FSANZ’s guidance document for the safety assessment of GM foods is available here.