Do certain fragrances make your eyes water? Find yourself sniffling or sneezing around a detergent brand?

You could be reacting to genetically engineered (GE) enzymes, which according to a study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, may increase your susceptibility to allergies.

GE enzymes are in food, too. They’re common in artificial flavorings. They’re used to make cheese ripen faster and to speed up the baking process. Products that contain GE enzymes are allowed to be called “natural.” And—big surprise—GE enzymes aren’t required to be safety tested.

(Not sure what an enzyme is? This explanation, written for kids, compares them to “assembly line robots).”

German and British scientists studied blood samples from 813 workers, employed in the food, drinks, chemicals, detergents and pharmaceutical industries (yes, GE enzymes are in medicines, too). Conducting the study wasn’t easy—the biotech industry played its standard “proprietary information” card. But they learned enough to conclude:

Genetically engineered enzymes are potent allergens eliciting immediate-type sensitization ... The assessment of allergenicity should be mandatory for all new products ... Enzymes should be tested like any other potentially hazardous chemical.”

How would you know if your detergent or cheese contained a GE enzyme that could trigger allergies? You wouldn’t—thanks to the herculean efforts of Monsanto and its minions in Congress to keep labels off all things genetically engineered