Bruce Chassy

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Prof Bruce Chassy is a professor of food microbiology and a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With David Tribe, he runs the pro-GM website, Academics Review.[1]

Contents

ILSI connection

Chassy was lead author of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) publications "Nutritional and Safety Assessments of Foods and Feeds Nutritionally Improved through Biotechnology” (2004) and "Nutritional and Safety Assessments of Foods and Feeds Nutritionally Improved through Biotechnology: Case Studies” (2008).[2]

These two papers were prepared by task forces of the ILSI International Food Biotechnology Committee. A report by German NGO TestBiotech examines how the 2004 ILSI paper prescribed the industry-friendly risk assessment process for GM foods, which was later adopted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).[3]

The TestBiotech report recounts how ILSI came up with the concept of comparative assessment, which is based on a comparison between genetically engineered plants and conventionally bred plants. They are seen as being equivalent if no significant differences are identified in the comparison of certain basic components, such as protein and carbohydrate content. ILSI itself admitted that the concept of comparative assessment was simply another name for the term "substantial equivalence", which the OECD coined in the early 1990s as a basis for risk assessment of GM foods:

In 2002, a task force of international scientific experts, convened by the ILSI Intl. Food Biotechnology Committee (IFBiC), addressed the topic of the safety and nutritional assessments of foods and feeds that are nutritionally improved through modern biotechnology. In 2004, the task force’s work culminated in the publication of a report that included a series of recommendations for the nutritional and safety assessments of such foods and feeds. This document has gained global recognition from organizations such as the European Food Safety Agency and has been cited by Japan and Australia in 2005 in their comments to Codex Alimentarius. The substantial equivalence paradigm, called the comparative safety assessment process in the 2004 ILSI publication, is a basic principle in the document.[4]

The concept of substantial equivalence of GM and non-GM foods as a basis for risk assessment has come in for much criticism by scientists - hence, perhaps, ILSI's avoidance of the term.

TestBiotech explains why comparative assessment is so helpful to the GM industry:

the concept of Comparative Assessment helps to simplify risk assessment. In consequence, it avoids a more comprehensive risk assessment of genetically engineered plants. An in depth investigation would be necessary if genetically engineered plants were considered as substantially different from conventional plants because of the methods used in their production. In this case, which is much more plausible from a scientific point of view, a much broader concept for risk assessment would be needed.[5]

In 2004, TestBiotech reports, EFSA published its Guidance Document on the risk assessment of food and feed derived from genetically engineered plants. Comparative Assessment was defined as the most important starting point.[6]

Other contributors to/authors of the 2004 ILSI paper and members of the ILSI task force that generated it are employees of the major GM/agrochemical companies. For example:[7]

Affiliations

Contact

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Resources

Notes

  1. Academics Review. Founders, acc 19 Mar 2011
  2. NSRL, Processing and Marketing of Soybeans for Meat, Dairy, and Baking Applications, acc 18 Mar 2011
  3. Then, C. and Bauer-Panskus, A. 2010. European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry. Standards for risk assessment massively influenced by industry. TestBiotech Background 1-12-2010.
  4. Then, C. and Bauer-Panskus, A. 2010. European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry. Standards for risk assessment massively influenced by industry. TestBiotech Background 1-12-2010.
  5. Then, C. and Bauer-Panskus, A. 2010. European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry. Standards for risk assessment massively influenced by industry. TestBiotech Background 1-12-2010.
  6. Then, C. and Bauer-Panskus, A. 2010. European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry. Standards for risk assessment massively influenced by industry. TestBiotech Background 1-12-2010.
  7. Then, C. and Bauer-Panskus, A. 2010. European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry. Standards for risk assessment massively influenced by industry. TestBiotech Background 1-12-2010.
  8. EFSA, 2009. Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel on Application (Reference EFSA-GMO-UK-2005-11) for the placing on the market of insect-resistant genetically modified maize MIR604 event, for food and feed uses, import and processing under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from Syngenta Seeds S.A.S on behalf of Syngenta Crop Protection AG, EFSA Journal, 21 July 2009
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