WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2016 - The European Food Safety Authority’s GMO panel has issued a clean bill of health to Syngenta’s genetically modified five-event stack in maize, finding no safety risk even if the grains were accidentally released into the environment.

Syngenta applied for approval of the stack in 2011 for food and feed uses, import and processing – but not for cultivation.

EFSA said it had previously identified no safety concerns in the five single events that are combined to produce the five-event stack, which comprises Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21. The stacked traits convey herbicide tolerance to glyphosate- and glufosinate ammonium-based herbicides, and resistance to specific insect pests, including larvae of the European corn borer, Mediterranean corn borer and corn rootworm.

“No new data on the single events, leading to a modification of the original conclusions on their safety, were identified,” the EFSA panel said in a paper.

The conclusion also applies to any of 20 subcombinations of the events, but the GMO panel said Syngenta “should provide relevant information, if these subcombinations were to be created via targeted breeding approaches and imported into the EU in the future.”

A minority opinion attached to the EFSA scientific paper, however, said that “no specific data regarding any of those 20 subcombinations have been provided by the applicant, who also did not give a satisfactory rationale explaining the reasons why those data are missing and/or why (the applicant) would consider that they are not necessary for the risk assessment.”

The next stop in the process is the European Commission, which has three months to review EFSA’s assessment, and after that to the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.


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