GM maize strain given EFSA all-clear

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA confirmed that GM maize produced in 2010 had no negative effects on humans, animals and the environment
EFSA confirmed that GM maize produced in 2010 had no negative effects on humans, animals and the environment

Related tags Risk management Risk Insect Gm

No negative effects on human and animal health or the environment can be traced to a trial of genetically modified (GM) maize strain which produces insect toxin, according to research from the European Food Safety authority (EFSA).

The findings come as part of EFSA’s response to the Post-Market Environmental Monitoring (PMEM) report for the 2010 season of GM maize.

The cultivation of the maize MON810 for the 2010 growing season had no adverse effects on human and animal health or the environment​,” an EFSA statement revealed.

But during its evaluation of the 2010 report, the GMO Panel noted shortcomings in the methodology used for the monitoring; however, these did not have implications on its overall conclusions on the safety of MON810.”

Data collection

As a result, the panel has made several recommendations in a bid to improve data collection, analysis and reporting of the maize production.

The panel also verified the literature review that is part of the 2010 PMEM report. It noted that the applicant had not referenced some relevant papers, published from December 2010 onwards, that related to maize MON810 or the insecticidal toxin that it produces. These studies were considered in EFSA’s assessment.

Monitoring is requested by the legislative framework on GM plants and is carried out following rigorous pre-market environmental risk assessment and risk management decisions related to the authorisation of the GM crop.

Meanwhile, Scientists from Rothamstead Research, based in Hertfordshire, have begun a trial on wheat, genetically modified to repel aphids in the hope that it will become the first GM wheat to be grown commercially in the UK.

Repelling odour

The scientists are using biotechnological tools to genetically engineer a wheat plant that omits high levels of an aphid repelling odour.

Dr Toby Bruce, who leads the research project, told our sister publication “If successful this wheat would not require treatment with insecticide. This is because it would repel colonisation by the aphid pests and also attract natural predators.

“However, we need to carry out the field experiment to discover if this is indeed the case​.”

He said that it could provide “a possible alternative to insecticides and uses a non-toxic eco-friendly approach to pest control​”.  Also, food could be produced without pesticide residues.


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