Genetically Modified Organisms

Public hearing of the genetically modified oilseed rape GT73 under EU Regulation 1829/2003/EC on genetically modified food and feed (application EFSA-GMO-RX-026/2)


Report no:

Published: 27.04.2022


Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) has assessed an application for approval of protein-isolate from genetically modified oilseed rape GT73 for food uses in the EU.

In accordance with an assignment specified by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) and the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA), VKM assesses whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) intended for the European market can pose risks to human or animal health, or the environment in Norway. VKM assesses the scientific documentation regarding GMO applications seeking approval for use of GMOs as food and feed, processing, or cultivation.

The EU Regulation 1829/2003/EC (Regulation) covers living GMOs that fall under the Norwegian Gene Technology Act, as well as processed food and feed from GMOs (dead material) that fall under the Norwegian Food Act. The regulation is currently not part of the EEA agreement or implemented in Norwegian law.

Norway conducts its own assessments of GMO applications in preparation for the possible implementation of the Regulation.

In accordance with the assignment by NFSA and NEA, VKM assesses GMO applications during public hearings initiated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as after EFSA has published its own risk assessment of a GMO, up until EU member countries vote for or against approval in the EU Commission. The assignment is divided into three stages.

Genetically modified oilseed rape event GT73

Oilseed rape GT73 was developed via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation, to introduce the goxv247 and the cp4 epsps expression cassettes into the oilseed rape genome. Oilseed rape GT73 produces the glyphosate oxidoreductase (GOXv247) protein, derived from the bacterium Ochrobactrum anthropi strain LBAA, and the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) protein from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4 (CP4 EPSPS), which confer tolerance to glyphosate-based herbicides.

In accordance with the assignment by NFSA and NEA, the VKM GMO Panel assessed the application EFSA-GMO-RX-026/2 during the EFSA public hearing. The Panel concluded that the scientific documentation provided in the application is adequate for risk assessment, and in accordance with EFSA guidance on risk assessment of genetically modified plants for use in food or feed. Further, the VKM GMO panel concluded that the introduced modifications in event GT73 do not imply potential specific health or environmental risks in Norway compared to EU-countries. This extends to isolated seed proteins from GT73 oilseed rape for food uses. Therefore, the VKM GMO Panel had no comments to EFSA regarding application EFSA-GMO-RX-026/2 during the EFSA hearing.

Previous assessments of oilseed rape event GT73 by VKM

Oilseed rape GT73 was also assessed by VKM in 2006 and 2012.

About the assignment

In stage 1, VKM shall assess the health and environmental risks of the genetically modified organism and derived products in connection with the EFSA public hearing of GMO applications. VKM shall review the scientific documentation that the applicant has submitted and possibly provide comments to EFSA. VKM must also consider: i) whether there are specific Norwegian conditions that could give other risks in Norway than those mentioned in the application, ii) whether the Norwegian diet presents a different health risk for the Norwegian population should the GMO be approved, compared to the European population, and iii) risks associated with co-existence with conventional and/or ecologic production of plants for GMOs seeking approval for cultivation. Relevant measures to ensure co-existence must also be considered.

In stage 2, VKM shall assess whether comments from Norway have been satisfactorily answered by EFSA. In addition, VKM shall assess whether comments from other countries imply need for further follow-up.

If EFSAs response to Norwegian comments is not satisfactory, or comments by other countries imply the need for further follow-up, VKM shall in stage 3 perform a risk assessment of these conditions, including conditions specific to Norway.

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