Ensuring Safe Innovation: FDA’s Oversight of Food Ingredients from Recombinant Microorganisms Friday July 12, 7pm
Some of us at BUGSS are thinking about making various food products, using engineered yeast, for fun. The yeast might be changed so as to produce new colors, tastes, and perhaps other experiences not yet familiar to Spike Gjerde or Kevin Blodger. This, of course, has us wondering about the law, and our collective a**es, particularly since we are not Monsanto or Budweiser. What might be necessary to get a food product made from engineered microorganisms safely and legally out there? How are these products regulated? Luckily, we are located near the beltway, so there is usually a helpful expert to be found. Dr Carrie McMahon is graciously giving her time to talk about navigating FDA regulations on food ingredients made from recombinant microorganisms. In Dr McMahon's words:
"Since ancient times, microorganisms have been used in the preparation of various foods such as cheese, yogurts, breads, and alcoholic beverages. These early microorganisms were naturally occurring microbial strains. However, as food processing became more sophisticated and product demand increased, the food processing industry looked for ways to optimize ingredients for particular food applications and to increase ingredient production and uniformity: recombinant DNA techniques were used to meet these challenges. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) helps companies to meet their responsibilities under the law: namely, (1) to ensure the safety of food ingredients that are added to food, used in food processing, or otherwise become a component of food and (2) to label their products in a way that is truthful and not misleading. FDA’s regulatory oversight includes ingredients that are – or come from – recombinant microorganisms.
Dr. Carrie McMahon, a cell and molecular biologist, is a Consumer Safety Officer with FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety. She will talk about food ingredient regulation using two interesting cases studies as examples of microorganism-derived ingredients that fall under FDA’s oversight and of the sciencebased approach used to evaluate the safe use of these ingredients in food and food processing. The first case involves an ingredient that has been through FDA’s regulatory system: a fish derived-protein (ice structuring protein) produced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and used in ice cream to control the size and structure of ice crystal formation. The second case explores the potential use of a microbial source to produce individual steviol glycosides. Discovered in a member of the sunflower family – Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni – steviol glycosides are used in food as high-intensity, non-caloric sweeteners."
Here is your chance to get an idea of how the FDA makes some of its decisions. Please check it out! All are welcome, and this event is free. (Please consider donating something, in order to keep this kind of thing going)
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