Biotech Updates

Safety Evaluation for Plant Molecular Farming

September 11, 2009

The development of genetically modified plants for applications outside of food and feed production has accelerated in the last ten years. About two percent of food and feed trials around the world are on molecular farming – genetically modified plants that produce drugs, vaccines and other substances for industrial needs. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recognized the need to put together experts to assess the medical and industrial application of genetic engineering.

In the opinion of the genetically modified organism (GMO) panel of experts, the fundamental principle that the properties of a genetically modified plant compared to its untransformed counterpart, is also suitable for the safety assessment in molecular farming. The focus will be on the evaluation of toxicity and allergenicity of the introduced protein and a detailed description of the drug, its properties and dosages.

Special requirements such as inspections, preventive programs and biological or physical methods are also recommended to prevent their spread and accidental access by humans and animals.

Details of the report can be accessed in German at: