1.4. Exposure to GMMs

In the first place in order to prevent the undesired effect of application of GMM in food production, a pre-market safety evaluation should be performed. Any impact on the food chain should be monitored. During the safety assessment, the following important factors should be taken into account: possibility of consumption of GMM; type of GMM / product / gene; assessing the potential hazard assessment on population level.

The methods for measurement of potential hazard on exposure of the population to GMMs should be determined. In this respect it is important to note the conclusions by previous consultations:

“The change in nutrient levels in a particular crop plant may impact on overall dietary intake. In such cases, it is important to determine alterations in nutrient content and bio-availability and their stability with time, processing and storage, as well as to monitor changes in dietary patterns as a result of the introduction of the genetically modified food and evaluate its potential effect on nutritional and health status of consumers. However, an assessment of the impact of nutritional status of consumers is important for all significant dietary changes and not specific to the introduction of genetically modified foods”.

As it has been noted by FAO/WHO it is very difficult to predict a potential long term health effect of any food, including those obtained with the aid of GMMs. It is due to the wide genetic variability in human population and to the complexity of the effects monitoring. It is considered that it is very difficult to identify any effects against background of conventional foods unless specific investigations were planned to answer very specific questions. Thus, the development of specific methods for traceability of GMMs exposure is very demanding.