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July 24, 2000


Brazil Nut Allergy; Food Safety; Risk Analysis and Risk Perception


Dr. Sahai:
As you can see, I obtained your message through the AgBioView listserv run
by Dr. Prakash. As the lead author on the Brazil nut in soybean study, I
think that you should point out that the needed research was sponsored by
Pioneer Hi-Bred and that these soybeans were never commercialized because
of the finding that consumers with Brazil nut allergy would have reacted
adversely to their ingestion. While I agree with your statement about the
potential for transfer of allergens if accessing genes from peanuts, I
would also add that the resultant GM crop could be very easily and
reliably tested to determine if allergens from peanuts were transferred.
While I am a strong advocate for assessing the allergenicity of GM foods,
I also believe that adequate testing methodologies exist for a reliable
assessment. Thus, the risk of allergenicity for GM foods is quite low and
arguably lower than for other conventional foods that are not subjected to

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