EFSA advises on safety of GM oilseed rape GT 73

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has published today an opinion on genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape GT73. The Panel has concluded that the herbicide-tolerant GM oilseed rape GT73 is as safe as conventional oilseed rape. Therefore the placing on the market - for import, processing and feed use - is unlikely to have an adverse effect on human or animal health or, in the context of its proposed use, on the environment.

The opinion of the EFSA Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms is based on a question raised by the European Commission related to the notification for the placing on the market of the GT73 oilseed rape. The scientific assessment was initially made by the competent authority of the Netherlands and subsequently evaluated by all other Member States. However, questions raised by several Member States led the Commission to ask EFSA for a further risk assessment on the GT73 oilseed rape.

The main questions raised by Member States included: possible allergenic risk associated with GT73, concerns regarding pesticide residues, clarification of data obtained from rat feeding studies and the potential need for additional feeding trials. Some Member States also requested a more detailed environmental monitoring plan.

Consequently, the GMO Panel was asked to consider whether there are any scientific reasons to believe that the placing on the market of GT73 oilseed rape is likely to cause any effect on human health and/or the environment.

The GT73 oilseed rape has been genetically modified to provide tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. The stated purpose of the modification is to allow farmers to manage weeds more effectively in oilseed rape fields during cultivation. However, the present notification concerns import and processing, but not cultivation of the oilseed rape. If approved it would therefore make it possible to import, process and use GT73 oilseed rape as animal feed. This is in addition to the present approved use of oil derived from GT73 for food purposes.

Following its risk assessment, the GMO Panel concluded that since there are no indications of significant compositional differences, additional animal feeding studies are not necessary. Furthermore, the animal feeding trials reviewed by the panel showed that GT73 oilseed rape is as safe as the conventional one.

In carrying out the risk assessment the GMO Panel has considered all the evidence provided and followed the ‘Guidance document for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and derived food and feed’