GT73 is a glyphosate tolerant oilseed rape from Monsanto.
It was authorized as food product in the EU in 1997 and as animal feed in 2005, failing to get qualified majorities in the Council of Ministers for an approval. The current renewal for continued marketing as food and food ingredient also includes the use as feed, even though the authorization as feed is still valid.
The current authorization is only for the import and use of food and feed products, and not for cultivation. In order to avoid the growing of GT73 from lost seed for example during transport, the feed authorization from 2005 also the "recommendations" for measures to avoid the spillage of GT73.
Austria invoked the so-called 'safeguard clause' (2001/18/EC, article 23) for GT73 in 2006. It prohibits the placing on the market of grain of GM oilseed rape GT73 and any GT73 hybrid varieties. This measure was prolonged in 2008 and is now valid until December 2010.
In December 2009, the EFSA GMO Panel published a positive opinion on the combined application.
The opinion on a renewed authorisation of GT73 as food and feed only focuses on the "intended use" of GT73 as food, food ingredients, feed materials, feed additives and food additives, while it is reiterated that "the scope of these applications excludes import of viable plant material and cultivation." The EFSA GMO Panel therefore comes to the conclusion that there is "no requirement for scientific information on environmental safety of accidental release or cultivation."
Detailed comments and opinions of Member States as well as the replies of the GMO Panel are listed in Annex G (Question documents).
Even though the opinion states that some new information was provided, the opinion repeatedly refers to EFSA's opinion from 2004, and reiterates its conclusions that GT73 would be unlikely to have adverse effects "in the context of its proposed use." No mentioning is made of the fact that Austria has invoked the safeguard clause against GT73.
The opinion does not include any assessment of the use of glyphosate herbicides during the cultivation of GT73, since that is considered to be outside the scope of the remit of the GMO Panel.
The GT73 opinion is open for public consultation at the EU level until 30 January 2010.
The ongoing renewal procedure does not stop the existing marketing authorisation as food and feed.