Following a request of the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed the available scientific information on teosinte for its relevance for the environmental risk assessment (ERA) of genetically modified (GM) maize MON810, Bt11, 1507 and GA21 for cultivation. The presence of teosinte in the European Union (EU) has been reported in maize fields in Spain and France. Since teosinte is not indigenous to the EU, it does not represent an environmental entity of concern requiring protection. Instead, it is considered a weed that can compete with cultivated maize, and is subject to control and/or eradication measures. Pathways to harm from the cultivation of maize MON810, Bt11, 1507 and GA21 were hypothesised for situations where GM maize and teosinte would grow sympatrically. For each of these pathways it is unlikely that environmental harm will be realised. The growth habits of teosinte species and subspecies, and maize × teosinte hybrids are such that the acquisition of insect resistance and/or herbicide tolerance through vertical gene flow is unlikely to change their relative invasive characteristics under EU conditions. The impact of insect resistance and/or herbicide tolerance in maize × teosinte hybrids on other organisms, the abiotic environment or biogeochemical cycles is likely to be very low, provided that measures are employed to control and/or eradicate teosinte and its progeny in infested agricultural areas. EFSA concludes that there are no data that indicate the necessity to revise the previous ERA conclusions and risk management recommendations for maize MON810, Bt11, 1507 and GA21 made by the GMO Panel. Therefore, the previous GMO Panel risk assessment conclusions and risk management recommendations on maize MON810, Bt11, 1507 and GA21 for cultivation remain valid and applicable.
First published in EFSA Supporting Publications:
29 September 2016
23 September 2016