Import and processing of BT11xGA21

Advisory reports | 19.10.2009 | 091019-02

In April 2008, COGEM advised on the import and processing for use in feed and food of the genetically modified maize line Bt11xGA21. This maize line was obtained by conventional cross-breeding of the two parental lines Bt11 and GA21. In response to the EFSA opinion, COGEM was asked whether the comments in her previous advice were sufficiently answered by the currently available information.
The hybrid maize line Bt11xGA21 contains the cry1Ab gene conferring resistance to certain lepidopteran insects. In addition, this maize line contains the pat and mepsps genes, resulting in tolerance to glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium containing herbicides.
COGEM considered the environmental risks associated with import and processing of maize line Bt11xGA21 negligible. During its long domestication process, maize has lost its ability to survive in the wild. In the Netherlands, the appearance of maize volunteers is rare and establishment of volunteers in the wild has never been reported. There are no reasons to assume that the introduced traits will increase the potential of maize to establish feral populations. The genes introduced in Bt11xGA21 cannot spread to closely related species since wild relatives of maize are not present in Europe.

In her previous advice on maize line Bt11xGA21 COGEM questioned some aspects of the provided general surveillance plan. COGEM upholds her remarks which are meant to improve the general surveillance plan. However, the provided general surveillance plan meets the minimal requirements for import and processing of maize Bt11xGA21.
In conclusion, COGEM remains of the opinion that import and processing of maize Bt11xGA21 poses a negligible risk to the environment and has no objections against an authorization for import and processing of Bt11xGA21.

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