The Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) yesterday released for public comment reports recommending the use of a GM canola and a GM corn as foods for human consumption.

These recommendations are contained in draft assessment reports, posted on the ANZFA website, which contain details of ANZFA's safety analysis for the two commodities:

*     a variety of canola that has been made tolerant to the herbicide bromoxynil by the introduction of an enzyme; and

*     a variety of corn that has been genetically modified to give it protection against insect pests and tolerance to the  herbicide glufosinate-ammonium.

ANZFA has concluded that food derived from these two GM crops is as safe for human consumption as that derived from conventional varieties of the crops.

ANZFA's acting managing director Greg Roche said ANZFA has received 23 applications to date to approve a GM food, twelve of which have already been approved by the Food Standards Ministerial Council, four are pending Ministerial approval, five are undergoing public consultation and two have been withdrawn.

"Since April 1999 when the first applications were received, ANZFA's GM team has meticulously studied the scientific data provided with each application and sought more information where there were gaps in the data," Mr Roche said.

"I can say with some certainty that we know more about the genetic make-up of these GM foods than any other food in the food supply.

"I can also say with certainty that the scientific evidence shows that the GM foods studied and recommended for approval are no more allergenic or toxic than their conventional counterparts and are just as nutritious."

Roche said he hopes individuals and organisations with an interest in GM matters will read the reports and write to ANZFA if they take issue with any of ANZFA's findings.

Australia and New Zealand have one of the most transparent and inclusive food regulatory systems in the world and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the approval process for GM foods.

Roche said people have until the end of March to provide submissions, after which a Final Assessment report will be prepared for Ministerial consideration.