FDA warns molecular farming startups of risks if food allergens are not properly managed

US regulators have warned startups in the emerging field of ‘molecular farming’ that expressing animal proteins such as egg and dairy proteins in genetically engineered crops such as soybeans will require strict allergen management.

Animal proteins used to be made exclusively by animals. However, startups are now producing egg, dairy, and meat proteins in microbes (precision fermentation), plants (molecular farming), and cultured animal cells (cultivated meat/dairy), production vehicles they claim are greener, kinder, and more efficient.

Each approach has its pros and cons, with molecular farming startups arguing that using major food crops such as corn and soy is the most cost-effective strategy. But it also presents allergen concerns.

In an open letter published Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminded firms of the legal requirements for such products. “Because adverse reactions to food allergens can be severe and life-threatening… we think it is important to reach out to developers and manufacturers now, while such plant varieties are still in early R&D stages.”

Click here to read the letter

Read more at agfundernews.com

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