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3-Food: GM potato no threat to health, says EFSA



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TITLE:  GM potato no threat to health, says EFSA
SOURCE: Food Navigator, France, by Anthony Fletcher
        http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/ng.asp?n=66081-efsa-potato-gm
DATE:   27 Feb 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


..........................................................................
Opinion of the GMO Panel related to the notification (Reference C/SE/96/3501)
for the placing on the market of genetically modified potato EH92-527-1 with
altered starch composition, for cultivation and production of starch, under
Part C of Directive 2001/18/EC from BASF Plant Science [1]
Last updated: 24 February 2006
Adopted on 7 December 2005. (Question No EFSA-Q-2005-023)
<http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/gmo/gmo_opinions/1373_en.html>

Opinion of the GMO Panel on an application (Reference EFSA-GMO-UK-2005-14) for
the placing on the market of genetically modified potato EH92-527-1 with
altered starch composition, for production of starch and food/feed uses, under
Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from BASF Plant Science [1]
Last updated: 24 February 2006
Adopted on 7 December 2005. (Question No EFSA-Q-2005-070)
<http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/gmo/gmo_opinions/1372_en.html>
..........................................................................



GM potato no threat to health, says EFSA


27/02/2006 - A genetically modified potato product with altered starch
composition poses no threat to human health, according to an EFSA panel ruling.

BASF Plant Science's GM potato, EH92-527-1, has a higher amylopectin:amylose
ratio.

Amylopectin starch potatoes are mainly used for the production of starch for
industrial purposes, and the potatoes are not intended for direct human
consumption.

However, the applicant has concluded that it cannot be excluded that the GM
potato and some products of the starch processing may be used as, or be present
in food.

The ruling comes after a recent summit in Parma on scientific and procedural
issues relating to the risk assessment of GM food. Herman Koter, the European
Food Safety Authority (EFSA)'s acting executive director, addressed fundamental
issues such as the scientific approach and EFSA's selection of experts, while a
number of NGOs expressed their concerns.

The meeting, hailed by EFSA as a positive step forward towards achieving a
better understanding on the various positions surrounding GM, also highlighted
significant fears within Europe over the introduction of the technology.

The recent WTO ruling backing the US, Canada and Argentina in their efforts to
open Europe to GM imports has increased the likelihood of GM food
proliferating.

The scientific assessment included examination of the DNA inserted into potato
EH92-527-1, the nature and safety of the modification in protein expression in
the plants with respect to toxicology and allergenicity. Furthermore, a
comparative analysis of agronomic traits and composition as well as the safety
of the food/feed was evaluated.

Both nutritional and environmental risk assessments, including monitoring plan,
were undertaken.

Molecular analysis shows that potato EH92-527-1 contains two partial copies of
the DNA fragment, i.e. the insert, including the flanking region, was
duplicated in reverse orientation and joined tail-to-tail. This is present at a
single locus in the nuclear genome of the GM plant.

The GMO Panel is of the opinion that bioinformatic analysis of the DNA insert
and flanking regions indicates no cause for concern, and that sufficient
evidence for the stability of the insert structure was provided.

In conclusion, the GMO Panel considered that the information available for the
potato addresses the outstanding questions raised by the Member States and
considers that the potato EH92-527-1 is unlikely to have an adverse effect on
human and animal health or the environment in the context of its proposed uses.

The potato EH92-527-1 is derived from the cultivar Prevalent. Potato leaf discs
were transformed by Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer technology. The
modification involves inhibition of the expression of granule bound starch
synthase protein (GBSS) responsible for amylose biosynthesis.

As a result, the starch produced has little or no amylose and consists of
amylopectin (branched starch), which modifies the physical properties of the
starch. A gene conferring kanamycin resistance (nptII) was used as a selectable
marker.


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news & information

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