GMOs: Commission requests information from Syngenta to confirm reliability of detection method for Bt10 maize

April 5, 2006

Brussels, 04 Apr 2006

Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, has sent a letter to the biotechnology company Syngenta, requesting confirmation of the reliability of the detection method for genetically modified BT10 maize.

The letter has been sent in light of concerns expressed by the Community Reference Laboratory for GMOs for Food and Feed, based at DG Joint Research Centre (JRC), that it could not exclude "false negative" results (i.e. negative results where Bt10 was not really absent) when the detection method in question is used to test for the presence of Bt10 in a consignment.

Bt10 maize is not authorised in the EU, and following the inadvertent export of this GMO from the USA to certain Member States last year, the Commission put in place emergency measures to address the situation (see IP/05/437 ). Syngenta was asked to provide an event-specific method for the detection of Bt10, which was validated by the JRC based on information provided by the company, and used to test maize consignments entering the EU. However, the most recent information on the structure of Bt10 received by the JRC from Syngenta was inconsistent with earlier information provided. This has led the JRC to express doubts about the reliability of the detection method.

Commissioner Kyprianou has therefore insisted that Syngenta should clarify the situation as soon as possible, and provide the Commission, in particular the Community Reference Laboratory at JRC with all the necessary information. On the basis of the material received from Syngenta, the JRC will re-evaluate the detection method and decide whether or not it needs to be adjusted in order to ensure full reliability.

Midday Express MEX/06/0404

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