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EFSA supports European Commission with scientific advice on safety of maize MON810 pollen

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked to give a rapid response to a request for scientific advice on the safety of pollen produced by genetically modified maize MON810. EFSA’s Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO Panel) adopted a statement which will be presented to the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) on 24 October 2011 to assist the European Commission and Member States with their discussion on this subject.

The EFSA GMO Panel considered the safety of maize MON810 pollen[1] both in food, for example when present in honey, and as food, when pollen is consumed directly. The Panel previously concluded that maize MON810 is as safe as non-GM maize and therefore advises that it is unlikely that pollen derived from MON810 would raise specific concerns as a result of the genetic modification.

Full details of EFSA’s statement on the safety of maize MON810 pollen in or as food will be made available shortly with publication in the EFSA Journal.

Notes to editors

EFSA was asked for scientific support by the EC on the safety of pollen produced by MON810 maize following a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice. The ruling stated that GM pollen produced by MON810 maize and present in honey falls under the scope of Regulation 1829/2003 on GM food and feed and is therefore subject to authorisation prior to placement on the market. MON810 pollen in honey was not included in the original scope of the authorisation application for maize MON810, meaning that honey containing the GM pollen became illegal following the court ruling.

[1] MON810 pollen comprises the Cry1Ab protein. The GMO Panel first assessed the safety of this protein and concluded that its previous findings, carried out as part of its 2009 risk assessment on maize MON810, apply (EFSA 2009).

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