Background: The safety issues regarding foods derived from genetically modified (GM) plants are central to their acceptance into the food supply. The potential allergenicity of proteins newly introduced in GM foods is a major safety concern.
Objective: We sought to monitor, in potentially sensitive human populations, the allergenicity effects of 5 GM materials obtained from sources with no allergenic potential and already under commercialization in the European Union.
Methods: We have performed skin prick tests with protein extracts prepared from transgenic maize (MON810, Bt11, T25, Bt176) and soya (Roundup Ready) samples and from nontransgenic control samples in 2 sensitive groups: children with food and inhalant allergy and individuals with asthma-rhinitis. We have also tested IgE immunoblot reactivity of sera from patients with food allergy to soya (Roundup Ready) and maize (MON810, Bt11, Bt176) samples, as well as to the pure transgenic proteins (CryIA[b] and CP4 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase).
Results: None of the individuals undergoing tests reacted differentially to the transgenic and nontransgenic samples under study. None of the volunteers tested presented detectable IgE antibodies against pure transgenic proteins.
Conclusion: The transgenic products under testing seem to be safe in terms of allergenic potential. We propose postmarket testing as an important screening strategy for putative allergic sensitization to proteins introduced in transgenic plants.