Safety Assessment of Genetically Modified Feed: Is There Any Difference From Food? Academic Article uri icon


  • Food security is one of major concerns for the growing global population. Modern agricultural biotechnologies, such as genetic modification, are a possible solution through enabling an increase of production, more efficient use of natural resources, and reduced environmental impacts. However, new crop varieties with altered genetic materials may be subjected to safety assessments to fulfil the regulatory requirements, prior to marketing. The aim of the assessment is to evaluate the impact of products from the new crop variety on human, animal, and the environmental health. Although, many studies on the risk assessment of genetically modified (GM) food have been published, little consideration to GM feedstuff has been given, despite that between 70 to 90% of all GM crops and their biomass are used as animal feed. In addition, in some GM plants such as forages that are only used for animal feeds, the assessment of the genetic modification may be of relevance only to livestock feeding. In this article, the regulatory framework of GM crops intended for animal feed is reviewed using the available information on GM food as the baseline. Although, the majority of techniques used for the safety assessment of GM food can be used in GM feed, many plant parts used for livestock feeding are inedible to humans. Therefore, the concentration of novel proteins in different plant tissues and level of exposure to GM feedstuff in the diet of target animals should be considered. A further development of specific methodologies for the assessment of GM crops intended for animal consumption is required, in order to provide a more accurate and standardized assessment to the GM feed safety.

publication date

  • 2019