2. Definitions on genetically modified foods’ safety

Safety and risk assessment of foods, including those obtained using GMOs, are in general considered within the range of risk assessment.

In order to find a solution WHO (World Health Organization) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) defined for a number of WHO member states some definitions concerning the nature and safety of genetically modified foods.

The following definitions have been specified:

  • Genetically modified microorganisms (GMMs)” - microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts or filamentous fungi) in which genetic material (DNA) has been altered through non natural approach by multiplication and /or natural recombination. This technology is often called “modern biotechnology”, “gene technology”, “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering”.
  • Modern biotechnology” means the application of direct transfer into cells or organelles of nucleic acid, including recombinant one, through in vitro nucleic acid techniques and cell fusion (protoplast fusion and hybridization).

Regarding the food and food ingredients produced by means of GMMs, the following classifications were proposed:

  • Products consisting of or containing viable GMMs.
  • Products consisting of or containing non viable GMMs.
  • Products obtained by means of fermentation processes with GMMs. After post fermentation processing the GMMs have been eliminated.