Politics / Law
New food and GMO guidelines
Parma – The EU’s food watchdog EFSA published two biotech-relevant guidelines in May – one on gut and immune system related health claims, and one on GMO food and feed safety assessments.
The update on risk assessments of food and feed made from GM plants covers the latest scientific developments in allergenicity and toxicology testing, design of field trials, animal feeding studies and analysis of stacked events such as multiple insect resistance and herbicide tolerance.
The long-awaited guidance document on gut and immune system-related health claims gives more information on appropriate study groups (for example people with irritable bowel syndrome or functional constipation). It also looks at which parameters or clinical outcomes for health claims covering bowel function, allergy-reduction, and maintenance of normal immune function may be accepted by the authority’s NDA panel.
While industry representatives complain that the new guidance isn’t significantly different than the EFSA’s draft document, Nutrialpha Europe said it was the first time the agency had provided clear recommendations regarding the choice of target populations for human studies and on R&D strategies to substantiate health claims.
Prior to the publication, a group of probiotics experts led by Ger Rijkers (Univ. Utrecht) had criticised EFSA’s reluctance to publish a list of definitive markers and study populations for substantiation of health claims. EFSA says it will continue to evaluate claims on a case-by-case basis.