Acrylamide-reducing Baker’s Yeast

In 2016, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast which has been modified to help reduce the levels of acrylamide in foods. Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in certain foods during high cooking temperatures that are common to frying, baking, roasting, etc. Acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast was modified through mutagenesis of traditional baker's yeast and selection on unique growth media to select for a yeast with more of a naturally occurring acrylamide reducing enzyme.

In order to determine whether acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast could be sold and used in Canada, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured the acrylamide reducing baker's yeast is safe for consumption, and still has all its nutritional value and therefore does not differ from other baker's yeast on the market. Our scientists also needed to assess how the acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast was developed and whether it can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the results.

Following this assessment, it was determined that the changes made to this baker's yeast did not pose a greater risk to human health than baker's yeast currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast compared to other baker's yeast used in food.

Health Canada's assessment of acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast was conducted according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods. The approach taken by Health Canada in the safety assessment of GM foods is based upon scientific principles developed through expert international consultation over the last 20 years with agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The approach taken by Canada is currently applied by regulatory agencies around the world in countries such as the European Union, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and the United States.

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