Genetically modified foods — also known as GMOs — are blamed for many things, including an increase in the development of allergies. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, GMOs like a gluten free wheat or a hypoallergenic peanut could make some foods safer for people with allergies.
Food allergies are primarily caused by a small group of allergens. According to Health Canada, those are peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, fish, soy, wheat, sulphites and mustard.
Soy is the only one of those that exists in a genetically modified version; none of the others are commercially available in genetically modified varieties. GMOs do not introduce new allergens, meaning that a person who is allergic to a GMO-plant will also be allergic to its non-GMO counterpart.
Before a GMO is created, researchers look at more than 1,950 genes to see if there’s a match between it and a known allergen. This complex process is overseen by Codex, an international food standards authority established by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.