GMO Bt corn cultivation in EU poses no threat to ‘human, animal health or the environment,’ food safety officials confirm

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Following a request from the European Commission, [The European Food Safety Authority] assessed the 2017 post‐market environmental monitoring (PMEM) report on the cultivation of Cry1Ab‐expressing maize event MON 810 …. Annual PMEM reports on maize MON 810 have been assessed by EFSA since 2010 (EFSA GMO Panel, 2011a, 2012a, 2013, 2014a, 2015a,b, 2016, 2017; EFSA, 2018). Based on the data provided in the previous PMEM reports, the GMO Panel did not identify adverse effects on human and animal health and the environment resulting from the cultivation of maize MON 810.

Overall, EFSA concludes that the evidence reported in the 2017 PMEM report does not invalidate previous EFSA and GMO Panel evaluations on the safety of maize MON 810.

[Editor’s note: see GLP’s FAQ Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment? to learn more.]

European and Mediterranean corn borer populations collected from North‐eastern Spain during the 2017 maize growing season and tested for Cry1Ab susceptibility show no symptoms of resistance to maize MON 810. No complaints about unexpected field damage caused by corn borers were received through the farmer complaint system.

Related article:  15 years after debuting GMO crops, Colombia's switch has benefited farmers and environment

EFSA identifies methodological and reporting limitations pertaining to insect resistance monitoring, farmer questionnaires and literature searching that should be resolved by the consent holder in future PMEM reports. In particular, EFSA notes that the monitoring strategy implemented in the 2017 growing season is not sufficiently sensitive to detect the recommended 3% resistance allele frequency necessary for a timely detection of a surge of field resistance.

The evidence from the 2017 PMEM report and the additional information provided by  [Monsanto] upon EFSA’s request do not indicate any adverse effects on human and animal health or the environment arising from the cultivation of maize MON 810 during the 2017 growing season. Consequently, EFSA concludes that no new evidence has been reported that would invalidate previous EFSA/GMO Panel evaluations on the safety of maize MON 810.

Read full, original article: Assessment of the 2017 post‐market environmental monitoring report on the cultivation of genetically modified maize MON 810

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