EFSA will publish minority Opinion from Jean-Michel Wal
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will publish a minority Opinion on a stacked-trait GM maize from one of its GMO Panel members, who does not agree that the maize has been proven safe to eat.
This news was announced in an article in EU Food Policy.
This is the second time that Jean-Michel Wal has disagreed with the majority of the panel on the safety of a GMO. His latest disagreement concerns the Syngenta stacked-trait GM maize Bt11 x MIR 162 x 1507 x GA21 and its sub-combinations for food and feed purposes. The maize is tolerant to glufosinate and glyphosate herbicides and expresses Bt toxin insecticides.
His objections are similar to the ones he had two years ago over the Syngenta stacked-trait maize Bt11 x 59122 x MIR604 x 1507 x GA21. This maize also expressed insecticidal and herbicide-tolerant traits. In his minority Opinion published by EFSA, Dr Wal, who works for the French research organisation INRA, said it is not possible to assess the safety of sub-combinations of traits for which no specific data are presented.
In assessing stacked-trait GM crops, EFSA uses a "weight-of-evidence" approach, based on what is known about the individual GM traits that make up the stack and other, different stacked-trait crops. Dr Wal commented in his Opinion two years ago, "No specific data regarding any of those 20 sub-combinations have been provided by the Applicant [Syngenta], who also did not give a satisfactory rationale explaining the reasons why those data are missing and/or why he would consider that they are not necessary for the risk assessment.”
In his latest minority Opinion, EU Food Policy reports, Dr Wal raises concerns over the safety of newly produced proteins in the sub-combinations, allergenicity, and other issues. EFSA's majority Opinion and Dr Wal's minority Opinion have not yet been published.
After 1 July this year, Dr Wal will no longer be on the GMO Panel, as he has served on four panels and under EFSA rules he cannot be considered again.
1. EU Food Policy (2018). EFSA to issue second GMO minority Opinion. 28 June. Subscription only, behind paywall. http://www.eufoodpolicy.com