On September 21, several media articles referred to a recent study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine on "genetically modified (GM)-enzymes". It is important to note that the allergy risk discussed in these articles and the research publication refers to individuals working with enzymes in industrial processes and not to consumers.
Manufacturers have safely produced and used enzymes for decades following workplace procedures put in place to protect their workforce. The risk of work-related enzyme allergy is controlled when proper workplace practices, engineering controls, and protective equipment are used.
Enzymes are large proteins and, like other proteins, they are produced in living cells of humans, plants, animals and microorganisms. All living organisms require enzymes for growth and for the production and utilization of energy which is essential for life. Enzymes are regulated worldwide and approved as safe biological ingredients in the manufacture of numerous products such as detergents, textiles and food. The allergy risk from enzymes produced by genetically engineered (GE) microorganisms is no different than enzymes produced by non-GE microorganisms.
ETA members supply enzymes to industry that provide environmentally-friendly products to consumers by using less energy, water and raw materials and generating less waste. Each year, the enzyme industry continues to innovate and further improve the environmental footprint of everyday products.
For more information and media inquiries, please contact:
Ann Begley, General Counsel
Gary Yingling, Senior Counsel