AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND – In a pivotal moment for food regulation Down Under, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is inviting public commentary on an application that could see the introduction of genetically modified corn, line DP915635, into the food supply chain.

This genetically engineered corn variety boasts herbicide tolerance and built-in defenses against insect pests, potentially reshaping the food landscape in Australia and New Zealand.

The application currently under review opens the door to the sale and utilization of food products derived from this new GMO corn.

If granted approval, DP915635 could find its way onto supermarket shelves in various forms, including starch, grits, meal, flour, oil, and sweetener.

However, transparency remains a top priority; any food product made from this genetically modified corn would be required to carry a clear “genetically modified” label if it contains novel DNA or novel proteins.

No green light for cultivation

While this application may herald a new era for food processing, it does not signal the green light for cultivating DP915635 corn in Australia or New Zealand.

The cultivation of this GMO corn variant, as well as the sale of whole foods containing viable seeds (like corn cobs), would necessitate a distinct regulatory assessment and approval process.

Such assessments fall under the jurisdiction of the Gene Technology Regulator in Australia and the Environmental Protection Authority in New Zealand, ensuring that any environmental implications are meticulously examined.

Safety first

Ensuring the safety of genetically modified foods is paramount in this decision-making process.

Rigorous safety assessments inherent to the approval procedure analyze the specific genetic modification process, potential unintended alterations, nutrient content compared to non-modified counterparts, and any conceivable allergic or toxic effects on human health.

Importantly, FSANZ’s safety evaluation has thus far raised no red flags regarding public health and safety concerns linked to corn DP915635.

Have your say

As the deadline for submissions approaches, stakeholders and concerned citizens alike have the opportunity to voice their opinions on this momentous decision.

The public comment period is open until 6 P.M. Canberra Time on October 20, 2023. FSANZ encourages all interested parties to participate, contributing their insights and concerns to this critical conversation.

The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food supply chain continues to spark global discussions.

The U.S is currently in a row with Mexico over Mexico’s plans to phase out GM corn for human consumption and eventually for livestock feed after studying its health effects.

With DP915635 poised as a potential game-changer, Australia and New Zealand join the ranks of nations grappling with the complexities of biotechnology in agriculture and its impact on the dinner table.

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