Reply to the EFSA statement on maize 1507 dated 20 October
Dear Mr Dalli
There is close collaboration between experts on the GMO Panel of the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, and the biotech industry. The chair of the GMO expert panel which is dealing with risk assessment of genetically engineered plants, Harry Kuiper, and a second expert from the same panel, Gijs Kleter, have for years been working with the International Life Science Institute (ILSI).
European Food Safety Agency EFSA has given a positive opinion on the authorisation of genetically engineered maize that inherits eight technically inserted gene sequences. The maize (corn) with brand name SmartStax, will be authorised for use in food and feed within the EU. It produces six different insecticidal Bt-proteins and is tolerant to two herbicides. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences developed the plants, which are derived from crosses between several genetically engineered plants. Plants produced like this are called 'stacked events'.
There is an urgent need to adopt a more comprehensive system for environmental risk assessment of genetically engineered plants. The system has to be based on reliable mandatory and empirical investigations that explore the technical qualities and risks of genetically engineered plants. On 29 September 2010 Testbiotech will meet the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other stakeholders to discuss about new guidance notes. The following ten points have been identified as crucial for the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants by Testbiotech: