Biotech Updates

EFSA on Bayer's LLRice62 Safety

November 20, 2009

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU's top food watch dog, issued a statement in 2007 on Bayer's application for the market authorization of its genetically modified herbicide-resistant LLRice62 for food/feed uses, import and processing in the European Union. EFSA in the statement concluded that although "there is a possibility that small numbers of GM rice plants could enter cultivation and cross-pollinate with cultivated or weedy rice," it is unlikely that "spillage will result in feral plants establishing around ports, mills, and transit routes." EFSA maintained that there is no indication of changes in fitness or behavior of the GM rice, except in the presence of the herbicide glufosinate.

Recently the European Commission asked EFSA to review a paper by Lu & Yang published in the journal Biotechnology Advance to indicate whether this paper contains new information that would alter the previous EFSA environmental safety conclusions on LLRice62. The paper reviews the processes of vertical gene flow between cultivated GM rice and its cross-compatible wild/weedy relatives, as well as its potential ecological consequences.

Having considered relevant scientific publications, EFSA stood by its original conclusions. The agency noted that "in terms of risk to the environment, no new scientific evidence has been provided that invalidates the previous environmental risk assessment evaluation of LLRice62 for its intended uses, which exclude cultivation."

Download a copy of EFSA's Scientific Opinion at Lu and Yang's review paper is available at