Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is seeking public comment on an application by biotech firm Monsanto Australia to approve the sale of food derived from a genetically modified (GM) cotton line.

This variety of cotton (MON88913) has been genetically modified for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. 

Cotton is currently the only GM crop grown commercially in Australia, with about 40% of the New South Wales and Queensland cotton crop coming from a GM source. Cottonseed oil is widely used in the food industry in blended vegetable oils, baked foods, fried foods and snack foods.

All GM foods have to undergo a pre-market safety assessment before they can be sold in Australia and New Zealand. Following a safety assessment of this GM cotton, FSANZ said it will only approve it for sale in food if it is found to be at least as safe as its non-GM counterpart.

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