Biotech Updates

European Commission Clears Syngenta's GM Maize for Food and Feed Use

December 4, 2009

The European Commission decided, after several months of impasse, to authorize the genetically modified (GM) maize MIR604 for food and feed uses and imports and processing. The maize has been genetically modified to produce the mCry3A protein, which confers resistance to the western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera) and other coleopteran pests of maize. The authorization is valid for ten years.

The Commission in a press statement said that "MIR604 maize received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and underwent the full authorization procedure set up in the EU legislation." EFSA earlier this year released a scientific opinion concluding that the GM maize is "as safe as its conventional counterpart with respect to its potential effects on human and animal health or the environment."

Following the approval, imports of soymeal and soybeans for animal feed could start again. More than 200,000 tons of soymeal and soybeans were refused entry into the EU earlier this year because they contained traces of unapproved GM events.

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