Abstract Title:

Benefits and concerns associated with biotechnology-derived foods: can additional research reduce children health risks?

Abstract Source:

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Jan-Feb;13(1):41-50. PMID: 19364084

Abstract Author(s):

A Cantani

Article Affiliation:

Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy. [email protected]


The development of techniques devised for the genetic manipulation of foods poses new risks for children with food allergy (FA). The introduction of foreign allergenic proteins from different foods into previously tolerated foods may trigger allergic reactions, often complicating with anaphylactic shock in a subset of allergic babies. Children with FA, even if subjected to preventative diets, always challenge the risk of developing allergic manifestations after unintentional intake of a non tolerated food in restaurant settings, with relatives or schoolmates, etc, where product labelling is necessarily lacking. The introduction of potentially allergenic proteins into foods generally considered safe for allergic children can be done deliberately, by either substantially altering the food ingredients, or by genetic manipulation which change the composition or transfer allergens, or unintentionally by qualitycontrol failures, due to contaminations in the production process, or to genetic mismanipulation. There is a controversy between multinationals often favored by governments and consumer association resistance, thus an equidistant analysis poses some unprecedented impediments. The importance of FA and the potential of transgenic plants to bring food allergens into the food supply should not be disregarded. The expression in soybeans of a Brazil nut protein resulted in a food allergen ex-pressed in widely used infant formulas, so paving the way to an often reported multinational debacle. Genetic engineering poses innovative ethical and social concerns, as well as serious challenges to the environment, human health, animal welfare, and the future of agriculture. In this paper will be emphasized practical concepts more crucial for pediatricians.

Study Type : Commentary
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