Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is now accepting public comment on a consultation document for two applications to approve the sale of genetically modified (GM) foods in Australia and New Zealand and one for a processing aid obtained from a GM source.
All three applications require a pre-market safety assessment by FSANZ before they can be approved. Approval requires scientific evidence showing that they are safe for human consumption.
The applications being considered are for foods derived from insect-protected soybean and drought-tolerant corn, respectively, and an engineered enzyme produced from a strain of Aspergillus niger.
Submissions for the soybean (A1035) and the lipase enzyme (A1036) close on May 19, 2010, while that for the GM corn (A1029) closes on May 5, 2010.
Application A1035 – Assessment – Food derived from insect-protected soybean
Monsanto Australia Ltd has requested approval for food derived from a GM insect-protected soybean line MON 87701. The genetic modification involved the transfer of one novel gene into soybean obtained from a common soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis. This gene protects the plant against feeding damage caused by certain insect pest larvae. FSANZ has found no safety concerns with the consumption of food obtained from this GM crop and has concluded that it is as at least as nutritious as food obtained from other commercially available soybean varieties. FSANZ invites comment from interested parties.
Application A1029 – 2nd Assessment – Food derived from drought-tolerant corn
Monsanto Australia Ltd has applied for permission for the sale and use of food derived from a new genetically modified variety of corn, drought-tolerant corn line MON87460. This variety of corn has been modified to tolerate cultivation under water-limited conditions. The corn is intended for cultivation in North America. However, once commercialized, corn products imported into Australia and New Zealand could contain ingredients derived from the MON87460 variety. FSANZ has no safety concerns and favors its approval. Before reaching a final decision, the agency welcomes the views of the community.
Application A1036 – Assessment – Lipase derived from Aspergillus niger as a processing aid (enzyme)
DSM Food Specialties seeks approval for a protein engineered enzyme (lipase), produced from a genetically modified strain of Aspergillus niger, for use in bakery applications to enhance the gas-holding capacity of bread dough and to increase the stability of the dough upon proofing, leading to an increased loaf volume. FSANZ has conducted a pre-market safety assessment of this processing aid, sourced from Aspergillus niger, which has an established safe history of use in the production of food enzymes. The agency intends to approve the application and encourages interested parties to submit comments.
Details of the assessments can be found at www.foodstandards.gov.au.