Assessment of endogenous allergenicity of genetically modified plants exemplified by soybean – where do we stand?

Regina Selb, Jean-Michel Wal, F Moreno, Martinus Lovik, ENC Mills, Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber, Antonio Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to EU regulation, genetically modified (GM) plants considered to be allergenic have to be assessed concerning their endogenous allergens before placement on the EU market, in line with the international standards described in Codex Alimentarius. Under such premises, a quantitative relevant increase in allergens might occur in GM plants as an unintended effect compared with conventionally produced crops, which could pose a risk to consumers. Currently, data showing a connection between dose and allergic sensitisation are scarce since the pathophysiological mechanisms of sensitisation are insufficiently understood. In contrast, data on population dose-distribution relationships acquired by oral food challenge are available showing a connection between quantity of allergenic protein consumed and the population of allergic individuals experiencing reactions. Soybean is currently the only recognised allergenic GM food by law for
which EFSA has received applications and was therefore taken as an example for defining an assessment strategy. Identification of potential allergens, methodology for quantification as well as risk assessment considerations, are discussed. A strategy is proposed for the identification, assessment and evaluation of potential hazards/risks concerning endogenous allergenicity in food derived from plants developed by biotechnology. This approach could be expanded to other allergenic foods in the future, whenever required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Early online date19 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Endogenous allergenicity
  • Genetically modified plants
  • GMO
  • Soybean
  • Food allergy


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