Environmental and health risk assessment

Biosafety and public acceptance of transgenic crops represent at least two other factors that must be considered before commercialization. The former does not seem to be a major issue with pineapple, primarily because there is little chance of gene escape into the environment.

Public acceptance is currently a major issue with all transgenic crops. The perceived safety of transgenic foods and the ownership of genetic material are at the centre of these concerns. It is difficult to anticipate changes in acceptance, but advances in transformation techniques, such as the development of selectable markers to replace antibiotic resistance markers and the use of the technology for more consumer-orientated product improvements might improve acceptance. Irrespective of changes in acceptance, it is evident that food-labelling laws in many countries will demand the identification of genetically modified contents. These laws will then require identification and segregation of fields of genetically modified plants. It is important for the pineapple industry to embrace protocols at this early stage to enable identification and segregation of genetically modified plants and thus ensure consumer confidence.

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