The food regulator received a request from Pioneer Hibred International for the sale and food use of soy from its DP-356043-5 line, tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate and to an acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting class of herbicides, in March 2008. Approval would require an amendment to the food standards code for the two countries - specifically, standard 1.5.2 on food produced using gene technology.
Following a positive first safety assessment and the consideration of comments received in a consultation on this, the agency has now published a second report in which it favours approval – and says soy from this line is “as safe and as wholesome as food derived from other commercial soybean varieties”.
The report takes into consideration feedback from the initial six week consultation period.
It says that, following analysis of the potential costs and benefits on affected parties – consumers the food industry and government – approval is preferred since in its view the potential benefits would outweigh any costs.
Several reasons are given for its preferred approach. Firstly, it reiterates that the safety assessment did not identify any public health or safety concerns.
In addition, the novel herbicide residues generated on the soybeans after the application of glyophosate are less toxic that the glyphosate itself.
Should the new line be approved, foods containing novel DNA and/or protein from the soybean line would have to have this presence declared on the label.
The agency is now opening the second phase of consultation required under the Major Procedure process.
More information on the report and the consultation is available here.