European Union set to decide on the import of Monsanto drought resistant maize

Munich/ Parma 12.9.2012 In a meeting taking place in Brussels tomorrow, the EU Commission and experts from EU Member States will discuss and probably vote on the import of a genetically maize produced by Monsanto (MON87460) that is supposedly drought tolerant.

The maize was made drought tolerant by introducing a bacterial protein (cold shock protein, CSPB) that is assumed to protect the plants against various stressful conditions. Besides the stress protein, the plants also contain a DNA sequence that confers resistance to antibiotics.

According to a Testbiotech analysis, the risk assessment as performed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has too many gaps and flaws to conclude safety for this product. Testbiotech also believes that the maize does not have any advantages in comparison with drought resistant maize derived from conventional breeding. There are already other maize varieties available, derived from conventional breeding that are adapted to drought.

The European Union is now debating this new transgenic maize but still no final decision has been made on market approval for SmartStax maize which is genetically engineered to produce six insecticidal proteins and is resistant to two herbicides.