Modified Gene in Oil Seed Rape Declared Safe For Consumers

GERMANY – Weed killer residues in oil seed rape (OSR) containing the genetically modified 'gat' gene do not pose a concern to humans, the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) has announced.
calendar icon 13 November 2013
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Chemical company DuPont des Nemours has been approved for the use of glyphosate in the US and Canada on genetically modified Oil Seed Rape.

This follows extensive tests that concluded residues from GM rape seed containing the gat gene were safe to humans.

The study, by the EFSA, has quashed calls for a review of current definition for glyphosate use regarding Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) after observations made on the metabolic pathway.

Currently used at an MRL of 10 mg/kg in rape seed, a 20 mg/kg was evaluated by Germany which investigated the genetically modified rape seed containing the gat gene (N-acetyltransferase).

The EFSA concluded: “residues of glyphosate in genetically modified rape seed containing the gat gene will not result in a consumer exposure exceeding the toxicological reference values and therefore is unlikely to pose a public health concern.”

However, the EFSA recommended existing MRLs for glyphosate in animal commodities are reconsidered. This relates to the use of OSR in livestock feed.

“Since rape seed meal can be used as livestock feed, the use of imported rape seed containing residues of glyphosate and its metabolites might have an impact on the total dietary burden of livestock,” the EFSA added.

The report added: “However, the use of glyphosate on oilseed rape as assessed in this application is expected to have a limited impact, considering that for other oilseeds the MRL is established at a similar level as the proposed MRL for rape seed (i.e. MRL for sunflower seeds: 20 mg/kg).”

“In addition, lacking essential information on the current use pattern of glyphosate on food and feed produced in the EU and imported from third countries, a reliable estimation of the expected residues in food of animal origin is not possible."

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