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EPA Approves Precision Fermentation Of Milk Proteins

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application from Daisy Lab Limited to produce dairy-identical proteins using genetically modified organisms in a contained facility.

EPA’s General Manager Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Dr Chris Hill says, "Precision fermentation has the potential to offer significant savings in land use, water use, and reduction in carbon footprint."

Daisy Lab holds an existing approval to genetically modify two types of yeast in containment - which in this case means in a secure laboratory environment.

"This new approval will allow them to scale up the work already underway and increase production.

"As part of this approval, Daisy Lab will be required to put in place several controls, which will ensure the genetically modified yeast is contained at all times."

Following fermentation, the proteins, such as whey or casein, are harvested and purified so all of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will be removed.

"Similar work is being undertaken internationally and we are confident this work poses no risk to human health."

The application was made under the EPA’s rapid assessment pathway, which means the decision was provided to the applicant within ten working days.

"I’m pleased we are able to provide timely decisions like this to researchers wishing to study well understood, low-risk organisms.

"The applicant was required to demonstrate their stringent safety standards, and their facility will be inspected."

Precision fermentation

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- Precision fermentation refers to the controlled cultivation of genetically modified (GM) microorganisms (in this case yeast) in bioreactors.

- The yeast is genetically modified to include the gene which codes for the desired protein.

- The GM yeast is then cultivated in large-scale fermentation bioreactors, where it produces the desired proteins.

- After fermentation, the proteins are harvested and purified to ensure they are free of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Read the decision documents

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