EU’s only cultivated GM crop, insect-resistant Bt corn, poses no risk to humans or the environment, study finds


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA assessed the 2018 post‐market environmental monitoring (PMEM) report on the cultivation of Cry1Ab‐expressing maize event MON 810 [insect-resistant Bt corn]. Like previous years, there was partial compliance with refuge requirements by Spanish farmers growing MON 810 varieties. European and Mediterranean corn borer populations collected from north‐eastern Spain during the 2018 maize growing season and tested for Cry1Ab susceptibility show no symptoms of resistance to maize MON 810.

The evidence from the 2018 PMEM report and the additional information provided by the consent holder upon EFSA’s request does not indicate any adverse effects on human and animal health or the environment arising from the cultivation of maize MON 810 during the 2018 growing season. Consequently, previous evaluations on the safety of maize MON 810 (EFSA, 2009; EFSA GMO Panel, 2012b,c) remain valid.

Related article:  10 truths about GMOs, organics and modern farming
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EFSA believes that a robust and fit‐for‐purpose farmer alert system may help to detect unexpected adverse effects caused by the cultivation of maize MON 810 and be an alternative to the current farmer survey system. EFSA recommends all stakeholders, including EU Member States and relevant national Competent Authorities, to have a dialogue and agree on how farmers growing maize MON 810 could best identify and report unexpected adverse effects from the cultivation of Bt maize varieties and on how to take stock of existing environmental networks.

In the meantime, EFSA is of the opinion that farmer questionnaires should remain in place and that their implementation should integrate the above‐mentioned recommendations to improve their efficiency and potential to detect unexpected adverse effects.

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