The importance of food composition in safety assessments of genetically modified (GM) food is described for
cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) that naturally contains significantly high levels of cyanogenic glycoside (CG) toxicants in
roots and leaves. The assessment of the safety of GM cassava would logically require comparison with a non-GM crop with a
proven “history of safe use”. This study investigates this statement for cassava. A non-GM comparator that qualifies would be a
processed product with CG level below the approved maximum level in food and that also satisfies a “worst case” of total dietary
consumption. Although acute and chronic toxicity benchmark CG values for humans have been determined, intake data are
scarce. Therefore, the non-GM cassava comparator is defined on the “best available knowledge”. We consider nutritional values
for cassava and conclude that CG residues in food should be a priority topic for research.