Concerns about safety

Concerns safety are driving a worldwide debate about the safety of foods derived from GM plant or animal sources and about the labelling of foods that may contain GM ingredients.

The approval procedures of FSANZ ensure that any new foods released onto the market are assessed for safety by answering questions such as:

  • Is the genetic material transferred unchanged from its source, and does it work in the same way in its new location?
  • Is any of this genetic material present in the food product derived from the GM plant or animal?
  • Could any of this genetic material cause harm if it was transferred to human cells?
  • Are new proteins produced in the plant or animal as a result of genetic modification?
  • Are these proteins present in the food product derived from the GM plant or animal?
  • Are any new proteins in the food product likely to be poisonous or cause allergies?
  • Is the composition of the food product derived from the genetically modified plant or animal different from the non-GM form of the food?

The safety assessment process undertaken for GM foods is a more thorough process than that undertaken for all other foods, and the level of safety associated with GM foods is at least as high as that of all other available foods.

Tempting debate with beer

A Swedish brewer has created a new light lager that’s produced with the usual hops and barley — and a touch of GM corn. The purpose of this beer is to encourage the public to become more involved in the biotech debate. Apart from protests by Greenpeace, the beer is being fairly well accepted across the country.

Ask the experts - work sheet [PDF 53kb | 2 pages]

Looking at media views - GM foods - work sheet [PDF 41kb | 4 pages]

Organic farming - work sheet [PDF 36kb | 4 pages]