The European Commission has authorised the placing on the market of the genetically modified maize MON 863 for import and processing as animal feed. The decision does not cover uses as human food or cultivation.

The maize has been modified by Monsanto to make it resistant to the corn rootworm. This authorisation has been granted to Monsanto for 10 years.

The MON863 maize has been subject to a rigorous pre-market risk assessment, and has been deemed as safe as any conventional maize by the European Food Safety Authority. Robust post-marketing rules will ensure that the product can be traced and monitored when put on the market.

The authorisation covers the import and the use as animal feed, but not cultivation or food uses. The product will be covered by the new strict labelling and traceability rules which came into force in April 2004. When put on the market, it will need to be clearly labelled as containing genetically modified maize. Its post-marketing monitoring will be assured through a unique identifier assigned to the maize to enable its traceability.

During the past four years, the EU has put in place a clear, transparent and stringent system to regulate genetically modified food, feed and crops. Under this new system, only GMOs which are safe for human and animal consumption and for release into the environment can be placed onto the European market. Clear labelling rules allow farmers, other users and consumers to choose whether or not to purchase such products. Individual authorisations are granted, following appraisal of the GMOs in question on a case by case basis. Requests for authorisations which do not fulfil all criteria have been and will continue to be rejected.