Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine



January 24th, 2024

Versión en Castellano

(ESPACIO APICOLA, January 24th, 2024) The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) published on January 19th the Assessment of genetically modified maize MON 810 for renewal authorisation under Regulation, according to the specific regulation of the Community.

Genetically modified (GMO) corn MON 810 contains the Cry1Ab gene, from Bacillus thuringiensis, which produces a toxin that affects the larvae of some lepidopteran insects (known as "barrenadores de maíz" Ostrinia nubilalis and Sesamia spp.).

The fact has special significance in the international beekeeping field since the presence of the pollen of this GMO in the honey of Mr. Bablok, a beekeeper from Bavaria, who started a court case that paralyzed the international honey market. The European Court fixed the sentence in September 2011, a fews days before the Apimondia Congress which was held in Buenos Aires. On that occasion, the local organizers of the Congress invited the leadership of Argentine biotechnology aligned with the interests of the laboratory to explain the benefits and safety of transgenic products (see note on the Position of CONABIA and INTA published in Espacio Apícola  99).

For its part, in Germany, the event that gave rise to the Bablok case put the German Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection on alert and they called for an international workshop for December of that same year on: "International workshop on the consequences of the ECJ judgement on GM pollen in honey for GM crop releases and cultivation in Germany and the EU" that took place at the Julius Kühn Institut in Berlin, on December 13 and 14, 2011, in which we had the opportunity to participate (see presentations and conclusions here Espacio Apícola 100).

Shortly after Bayer obtains the licence, but these are restricted in most EU countries, starting with Germany, by a safeguard clause that allows them to prohibit the use or sale of the product in their territory. Today, according to the site of last November 18th, 17 of the 27 EU countries make use of this safeguard and MON 810 corn is only grown in Spain and Portugal with a significant decrease in the area dedicated to it; from about 140 thousand hectares in Spain in 2013 to about 70 thousand in 2022, although we must consider that the last two or three years have been of significant droughts and that there is also pressure from non-governmental organizations to prohibit its cultivation due to the transfer of the gene modified to other species (expand this information on the econews portal where we took the photo that illustrates this note).

As can be seen, the cultivation of this event in the EU is minimal, however, for the laboratory and for the EU it is important to maintain the authorization for products made with this and other GM corn events, already approved or in the process of being approved, which enter the EU in products for human consumption and mainly animal nutrition, from countries where these events are grown without enough evaluation of the environmental impact and the damage caused by the implementation of the implicit production technology.

In Argentina there are dozens of mixed transgenic corn events approved for different commercial brands. These, for example, combine in the same seed the technology of MON 810 or other events with that same characteristic, with others that give resistance to the total herbicides glyphosate (RoundUp Ready, RR) and glufosinate ammonium.

Ah! I forgot, the review also includes the approval of corn pollen MON 810... (access the evaluation published by EFSA here).

Information generated by "Espacio Apícola" the Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine