EFSA Press Release, 21 November 2013
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has revised its risk assessment of genetically modified (GM) maize 59122 after the emergence of additional information revealed a gap in the data provided by the applicant. The Authority is therefore no longer able to conclude on the environmental safety of GM maize 59122 regarding its potential adverse effects on particular organisms including honeybees and ladybirds. EFSA recommends that the applicant supply the missing data to allow the environmental risk assessment to be completed.
In March 2013, EFSA delivered a scientific opinion on maize 59122, a GM plant that is engineered to provide protection against corn rootworm larvae that typically feed on the root system of the plant. The Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) concluded that GM maize 59122 presented no risk with regard to human and animal health. As the application contained a request for cultivation in the European Union, EFSA also assessed the risk posed by GM maize 59122 to the environment. This included evaluating the risk to insects such as honeybees and ladybirds that are not targeted by the GM plant. Based on evidence provided by the applicant, the panel concluded GM maize 59122 was unlikely to harm these so-called non-target organisms.
However, shortly after publishing its opinion and as part of its continuous process of screening all relevant scientific literature, EFSA identified a gap in the data provided by the applicant to support the findings on honeybees and ladybirds. Consequently, the GMO Panel has revised its previous opinion to indicate that it cannot conclude on both these issues and recommends the applicant provide the necessary data so that a full environmental risk evaluation can be completed.
The identified data gap leading to an inconclusive environmental risk assessment is specific to GM maize 59122. It is not relevant to the risk assessment of other GM maizes that provide protection against insect pests, such as MON810, Bt11, 1507 and MON88017.