Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) have been controversial since their inception in the early 1980’s. Most typically present in plants, the term GMO is used to describe an organism that has been altered through in-vitro nucleic acid technology for improved performance on some or multiple traits.
The US FDA does not use the term “GMO” in its guidance preferring to use the more precise label, “food derived from genetically engineered plants”. The FDA does not regulate the use or non-use of GMO’s but issues guidance on the topic which it states should be used as “recommendations”. There has been some movement recently in the US at some state and federal levels to require labelling the presence of GMO’s in some foods.
The FDA states, “Validated analytical methods may be useful in confirming the presence of bioengineered plants or food ingredients. Where test have been validated and shown reliable, they may be used to confirm the presence of bioengineered material in support of a claim that a food has been bioengineered.”
The EU, however, has established a legal framework to ensure that the development of GMO’s takes place in safe conditions. The framework around GMO’s in Europe includes numerous steps that must be adhered to. These include a safety assessment, harmonised procedures with transparency, clear labelling of GMO content and traceability of GMO’s placed on the market.
Neogen® offers a choice of BioKits DNA test kits for genetically modified organisms as well as its Reveal® for CP4 lateral flow test. The BioKits tests use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology, which is commonly used to establish the presence or absence of DNA sequences found in genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This technique has been found to be applicable to both raw and processed food and feedstuffs GMO testing.