EFSA statement on the microorganisms used for the production of food enzymes introduces whole genome sequencing as a major molecular characterisation tool
EFSA CEP Panel published on 11 June 2019 a statement on the characterisation of microorganisms used for the production of food enzymes. This has been expected since February 2018 when the FEEDAP Panel adopted a guidance on the characterisation of microorganisms used as a production organisms mainly for enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. The statement covers only aspects directly linked to the production strain and excludes technical and toxicological aspects, which are covered by existing guidance documents. In agreement with the FEEDAP guidance, a requirement for the deposition of the production strain in an internationally recognised culture collection is now clearly stated, even though this is not explicitely indicated in the food enzyme legislation. As in the FEEDAP guidance, whole genome sequencing is now required for the characterisation of bacteria and yeasts and recommended for fungi. Concerning antimicrobial susceptibility, the requirements are identical to those in the FEEDAP guidance except for the adjustment of the table indicating the microbiological cut-off values. The corresponding cut-off values have not been modified, but Pseudomonas is included in the table and the relevant cut-off values have been drawn from EUCAST. The toxigenicity and pathogenicity section as well as molecular characterisation of the microorganism also follow the FEEDAP guidance requirements. Analysis of the absence of viable cells or DNA from the product is also identical. In conclusion, with this statement the CEP Panel harmonises the requirements for the assessment of the microorganisms used for the production of food enzymes with the corresponding FEEDAP guidance. In both cases the whole genome sequencing approach has been taken extensively into use, which is a logical step considering the rapid scientific development.
Link to the statement: