Last updated on 26 January 2006
Survey of the presence of the unauthorised genetically modified organism Bt10 in maize products imported from the USA
Food Survey Information Sheet 02/06
Nineteen samples (190 sub-samples) of maize were taken from various locations in the UK during a four-week period in September/October 2005.
All samples tested were negative for the presence of the unauthorised genetically modified organism Bt10.
Following the accidental contamination of authorised Bt11 genetically modified (GM) maize with non-authorised Bt10 GM maize, a European Commission decision was published on 18 April 2005 on Bt10 in maize products. As part of this decision there is a requirement for Member States to take appropriate measures, including random sampling and analysis, and to inform the Commission of these results.
The measures were revaluated in October 2005 and Member States agreed that they should remain in place until further information on exports of maize products that might contain Bt10 was available from the United States. The measures will be reviewed again in early 2006.
When the Bt10 contamination came to light, Syngenta (the company who developed this GMO) provided safety data to the relevant authorities in the United States (US Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration). The novel proteins produced by Bt10 were compared with those from Bt11 and it was concluded that they were identical and there was no safety concern.
The decision by the European Commission requires imports of maize (corn) gluten feed and brewers� grains from the United States to be certified as free from Bt10. The Food Standards Agency carried out this survey in order to provide information on the accidental release of this GMO in related raw and minimally processed food and feed products. A number of local authorities had already collected samples since the Commission Decision was introduced in April and before the FSA survey was undertaken. All were negative for Bt10. The FSA commissioned the survey to increase the number of samples being analysed.
Further information on the background to this contamination and details of the action taken by Syngenta and the European Commission following this can be found in a meeting paper presented to the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes at their May 2005 meeting.