Is there a link between foods produced through biotechnology and allergies?

Consumer 1: I’m not sure exactly what causes food allergies. It’s probably some chemical in the food, but I don’t know if, if GMO’s are necessarily adding to the chemicals that cause allergies. I’m really not sure.

Consumer 2: I guess one thing would be for people with allergies to specific foods.

Consumer 3: So is it known if there’s a link between these foods and allergies, have they studied that?

Dr. Burks: Allergic disease truly has changed in the last 20 to 30 years. There’s lots of reasons that we all speculate about why it’s different. There’s a hygiene hypothesis, that we live in too clean a lifestyle. There’s the changes in our gastrointestinal system, the actual microbiome, that happened over time. There are changes in our environment, the air that we breathe, for diesel particulate exhaust. Those three areas are much, much, much more likely to have a part in the change of allergic disease than anything related to food biotechnology. It’s not even on my list of things that I think about that would have caused those changes because of what I know about the safety and the approval process in the development of these foods. There’s just not a way that they’re going to be related to change more allergic disease.

Dr. Teuber: So, for instance, in regard to allergens, physicians, allergists, food safety experts -- we’re all part of the groups that got together to come up with decision trees that industry follows to help ensure that allergens are not being introduced. Toxins are not being introduced that could be of any harm to people, etc. So, yes, there’s been input from physicians on this level.

Dr. Green: As it relates to biotechnology developed foods, they’ve been very carefully studied and if there were even the slightest chance that the methodologies would lead to the addition of an allergen, this has already been fully studied, vetted, and prevented.


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