Molecular characterization of maize MON89034

Advisory reports | 26.01.2009 | 090126-01

In October 2007, COGEM advised negatively on the import and processing for use in feed and food of genetically modified maize MON89034. COGEM was of the opinion that incidental spillage of maize line MON89034 would probably not pose a risk to the environment. However, COGEM pointed out that putative polypeptides in the entire border regions should have been analyzed for similarity to allergens and toxins. In addition, more detailed information should have been provided on the Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain that was used for the genetic modification. COGEM also had comments on the General Surveillance plan that was provided.

 In 2008, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requested the applicant for additional information. A revised general surveillance plan was presented by the applicant. COGEM considers this general surveillance plan sufficient for import and processing of MON89034 maize.
 No additional information was provided on the analysis of putative polypeptides in the border regions. Since 2008, COGEM abstains from advice on the potential risks of incidental consumption in case a food/feed assessment is already carried out by other organizations. This is the case for MON89034. At the publication of this advice, the outcome of the food/feed assessment was not known to COGEM. In addition, COGEM recently reconsidered the elements of the molecular characterization which are needed for the environmental risk analysis and formulated criteria for the molecular characterization of commercial releases of genetically modified crops. The molecular characterization of MON89034 maize fulfils the requirements as set by COGEM for the environmental risk analysis. In addition, obtained information on the A. tumefaciens strain ABI removed previous questions on this subject by COGEM.
In the Netherlands, no wild relatives of maize are present and establishment of maize plants in the wild has never been observed. There are no reasons to assume that the inserted traits will increase the potential of the maize line to establish feral populations. In addition, the appearance of volunteers is very rare under Dutch conditions.
 In view of the above COGEM is of the opinion that import and processing of maize MON89034 poses a negligible risk to the environment.

Download publication