London (July 22nd, 2005) – EFSA recently gave its approval to three more genetically modified maize types. This is the first time that the experts have assessed hybrid strains combining different quality traits into one plant.

Were an authorization to be granted, the intended European use of the three maize hybrids would be for in food and animal feed, as well as industrial processing, but not growing. All three originated from Monsanto.

"The panel considered that the information available is sufficient to come to a conclusion and that the GM maize hybrids ... will not have adverse effects on human or animal health or on the environment in the context of their proposed uses," EFSA said in its statement. "They are not different from their conventional counterparts with regard to their safety and nutritional properties.”

The hybrids are based on the existing GM maize strains MON 863, MON 810 and NK 603. No new genetic modification was performed to create the hybrids.

Generating hybrid maize is standard practice in traditional maize breeding. Separate lines are crossed to make a hybrid seed, allowing for desirable traits to be selected to enhance agricultural performance. In the new example, NK 603 maize is engineered to resist herbicides, while MON 863 can provide plant protection against certain pests, specifically the corn rootworm. MON 810 maize is resistant to other pests such as caterpillars and certain worms.

Sources:

1. European Food Safety Authority (14 July 2005). Opinion of the GMO Panel on an application for the placing on the market of insect-protected glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified maize MON863 x MON810 x NK603, for food and feed uses, and import and processing under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from Monsanto. (http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/gmo/gmo_opinions/1033_en.html)

2. European Food Safety Authority (14 July 2005). Opinion of the GMO Panel on an application for the placing on the market of insect-protected glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified maize MON863 x NK603, for food and feed uses, and import and processing under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from Monsanto (http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/gmo/gmo_opinions/1032_en.html)


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  European Food Safety Authority approves more GM crops