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Advisory reports 19.05.2017

Import and processing of genetically modified oilseed rape MS11

(CGM/170519-01)
  • The present application (EFSA/GMO/BE/2016/138) concerns the authorisation for import and processing for use in feed and food and other products (containing or consisting) of genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape MS11;
  • Oilseed rape MS11 is a male sterile line. It expresses the barnase gene which results in lack of viable pollen and male sterility. MS11 also contains the barstar gene which, according to the applicant, enhances the transformation frequency. And it expresses the bar gene, which confers tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium containing herbicides;
  • Feral oilseed rape populations occur across the Netherlands, with a small number of plants (25 or less) per location, along distribution routes and handling areas as a result of spillage of oilseed rape seeds during transport and transshipment;
  • Oilseed rape can hybridise with Brassica rapa which is a common plant along Dutch roadsides. To a lesser extent it can also hybridise with Brassica juncea and Brassica oleracea;
  • Stable incorporation (introgression) of genes from B. napus into wild populations of B. rapa and B. napus may be possible;
  • There are no indications that the introduced traits alter the fitness of oilseed rape MS11. Herbicide tolerance gives the crop advance in places where glufosinate-ammonium herbicides are used for weed control;
  • In general, COGEM is of the opinion that the monitoring plan for feed, import and processing of GM oilseed rape events should include monitoring along transport routes (including roadsides and railway beddings) and transshipment areas;
  • However, oilseed rape MS11 is a male sterile line that, according to the applicant, will not be commercialised as a stand-alone product and will only be used for the production of hybrid seed;
  • Import of MS11 in the EU will not take place. Therefore, COGEM has no objections to current monitoring plan as it is irrelevant;
  • COGEM is of the opinion that the hypothetical import and processing of oilseed rape MS11 poses a negligible risk to the environment in the Netherlands;
  • COGEM abstains from giving advice on the potential risks of incidental consumption since a food/feed assessment is carried out by other organisations.