Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA GMO Panel) evaluated the documentation provided by Austria to support the prolongation of the safeguard clause measure prohibiting the placing on the market of the genetically modified oilseed rape events Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3 for import, processing and feed uses in Austria according to Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC.
The EFSA GMO Panel assessed whether the documentation submitted by Austria comprised new scientific information that would change or invalidate the conclusions of its previous risk assessments on oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3. The EFSA GMO Panel also considered the relevance of the concerns raised by Austria in the light of the most recent data published in the scientific literature.
During its evaluation of the supporting documentation, the EFSA GMO Panel observed that the scientific rationale provided by Austria to justify the prolongation of its safeguard clause measure includes data derived from cultivation. The authorised uses of oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3 exclude cultivation, and cover import and processing for food and feed uses only. The EFSA GMO Panel considered the data compiled by Austria and other data on gene flow, persistence and invasiveness derived from cultivation. These data were considered as a worst case, representing conditions where exposure and potential impact are expected to be the highest, to assess possible environmental impacts resulting from seed import spills. However, the EFSA GMO Panel notes that data on gene flow, persistence and invasiveness derived from cultivation represent worst-case conditions that do not reflect those associated with the levels of environmental exposure related to the import, distribution and processing of oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3.
The EFSA GMO Panel also noted that some publications referred to by Austria were already part of the dataset submitted by Austria to support its 2008 safeguard clause measure. These publications were addressed previously by the EFSA GMO Panel in its 2009 Scientific Opinion on the safeguard clause measure invoked by Austria on oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3.
The EFSA GMO Panel could not identify new scientific evidence in the documentation provided by Austria and in the scientific literature that indicated that the import and processing of oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3 for feed uses in the EU pose a significant and imminent risk to the environment.
In conclusion, the EFSA GMO Panel considers that, based on the documentation supplied by Austria, and a review of recent scientific literature, there is no specific scientific evidence in terms of risk to the environment that would support the notification of a safeguard clause measure under Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC nor its prolongation, and that would invalidate its previous risk assessments of oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3.