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Crop Biotech Update

EFSA Reiterates Previous Risk Assessment Conclusion on NK603 Valid and Applicable

June 7, 2017

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), by request of the European Commission (EC), assessed the 2016 scientific publication by Robin Mesnage et al., including its relevance for the risk assessment of maize NK603. The publication analyzed the proteomic and metabolomic profiles of maize NK603 kernels and compared those to a non-GM maize line used as comparator. The authors quantified the levels of expression of the CP4 EPSPS protein in maize NK603, and concluded that maize NK603 is compositionally non-equivalent to a non-GM maize comparator.

EFSA found severe shortcomings in the study's experimental design, as well as uncertainties on the suitability of the test material used by the authors. Furthermore, the interpretation of the results is incomplete, since the authors did not take into account natural variability of the endpoints analyzed. EFSA is also uncertain about the potential contamination of the study materials by pathogens and the related confounding effects on the study results.

EFSA concludes that results published by Mesnage et al. are insufficient to necessitate the revision of the risk assessment conclusions on maize NK603, and does not presents any new scientific information to invalidate the previous EFSA GMO Panel risk assessment conclusions of maize NK603. Therefore, EFSA considers that the previous risk assessment conclusions on maize NK603 remain valid and applicable.

The open-access Technical Report is available at EFSA Supporting Publications.