At a time when young consumers are looking for products that are synonymous with health, simplicity, freshness and naturality, foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their ingredient list are increasingly being removed from the grocery basket.

 

In a Clean Label Era, Can GMOs Be Considered?

Since their appearance almost two decades ago, GMOs have conquered farmers everywhere in order to facilitate their laborious work. In the process, they also raised several debates, both on environmental concerns and food safety issues. Negative elements brought about by these technologies include the possible transfer of antibiotic resistance genes into the gastrointestinal tract, toxicity and allergenicity of food derived from GMOs. However, at present, there is no evidence that food derived from genetically modified crops are less safe for humans or animals than conventional food. Indeed, at a time when we face the challenge of producing enough food for a growing population living in varying conditions, we would do well to consider them. GMOs have several interesting advantages: increased crop yields, reduced production costs, reduced pesticide requirements, improved nutrient composition and quality, resistance to certain diseases, etc. In addition, some crops can now ripen more quickly and have better tolerance to climate variations.

Despite all the benefits of genetic engineering, to ensure consumer safety, GMOs must be part of a risk assessment process. Consequently, the development of methods for detecting the quantities and quality of genetically modified DNA is constantly evolving in order to facilitate the identification of GMOs. In this sense, a recent literature review has been published presenting the technological advances in GMO detection methods over the last twenty years. The interest in DNA biosensors is revealed, which represent a growing interest due to their possibility of automation and microfabrication based on simple and portable detection systems. Optical platforms based on fast visual results are also attractive at the consumer level. While there is still a lot of work to be done in biosensor technology, we have a greater interest in it given the growing popularity of the Clean Label and food control regulations. In addition, they guarantee transparency in the composition of food for increasingly demanding consumers.

 

Don’t miss Guylaine Laganière, a microbiology specialist with EnvironneX Group, who will present “GMOs in the 21st century Industry: Transparency and Detection Methods” on October 2 at BÉNÉFIQ 2018.