12/06/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/06/2023 12:07
Following a request from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed the 2021 post‐market environmental monitoring (PMEM) report on the cultivation of Cry1Ab‐expressing maize event MON 810. Evidence provided in the PMEM report shows that farmers growing maize MON 810 in Spain complied partially with refuge requirements, while full compliance was achieved in Portugal. Cry1Ab susceptibility tests performed on European and Mediterranean corn borer populations collected from north‐eastern Spain in 2021 indicated no symptoms of resistance evolution to maize MON 810. However, unexpected damage to maize MON 810 plants was observed in a field trial in the province of Girona (north‐eastern Spain), which may point to the presence of resistance alleles in this region. Information retrieved through farmer questionnaires and the scientific literature reveals no unanticipated adverse effects on human and animal health or the environment arising from the cultivation of maize MON 810. Overall, EFSA concludes that the evidence reported in the 2021 PMEM report does not invalidate its previous conclusions on the safety of maize MON 810. The possible presence of Cry1Ab resistance alleles at frequencies leading to damage to maize MON 810 plants in Girona requires twofold actions: (1) increase monitoring efforts in this area; and (2) implement remedial measures to limit the suspected evolution and spread of resistance. As in previous years, EFSA identified shortcomings on resistance monitoring that need revision. In particular, full refuge compliance must be achieved in Spain. Moreover, the sensitivity of the monitoring plan must be increased, which can be achieved by replacing the current susceptibility assays by periodic F2 screens. EFSA also recommends the consent holder to revise the farmer questionnaires to account for the emergence of teosinte as a noxious agricultural weed in maize MON 810‐growing areas in Spain.