European Bans on MON810 Insect Protected GMO Corn Hybrids

Since 1996, corn hybrids with the MON810 insect-protected trait have provided valuable economic, agronomic and environmental benefits to millions of farmers throughout the world. Regulatory authorities and other third parties have conducted extensive analysis demonstrating that MON810 is safe to humans, animals, non-target organisms and beneficial insects. However, in several European countries, politicians – using scientific arguments rejected by the EU’s own Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – have taken decisions to illegally ban the planting MON810 corn hybrids despite a robust safety assessment and a long history of safe cultivation and consumption.

As consumers ourselves, the safety of the foods we serve to our friends and families is important to everyone who works at Monsanto. Consequently, the safety of the products we sell to farmers is our top priority, and we confidently stand behind the safety and healthfulness of each of our GM seed products.

One question we’ve been asked is: if they are safe, why have MON810 insect-protected corn hybrids been banned in some countries in Europe?
MON810 corn hybrids are one of just a couple GM products approved for planting in the European Union. Despite thorough scientific reviews and approvals by the scientific regulatory authorities in Europe, politicians have elected to ban the product in some European countries – preventing their farmers from planting these hybrids.

The bans result from political decisions, contrary to the scientific evidence and against the existing European market approval. In fact, over the years, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has examined each of the scientific publications which member states used to justify their decisions to ban MON810. EFSA has not found any convincing proof that would changeits position on the safety or to scientifically justify a legal ban. In fact, in 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that a French ban on MON 810 was illegal and that a ban can be invoked only in circumstances that are likely to constitute a clear and serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment. This was followed by rulings of the highest court in France, which also deemed the French ban to be unlawful.

Multiple health societies, hundreds of independent scientific experts and dozens of governments around the world have determined that foods and ingredients developed through GM are safe.
Specifically, scientific regulatory authorities in approximately 20 countries worldwide have examined extensive studies assessing the safety of MON810 corn hybrids for humans, animals, non-target organisms and beneficial insects. Every independent scientific authority that has examined the safety of MON810 has come to the same conclusion: there are no human or animal health concerns. Following are summary statements from a few of those safety assessments:

  • “In conclusion, the EFSA GMO Panel considers that the information available for maize MON810 addresses the scientific comments raised by Member States and that maize MON810 is as safe as its conventional counterpart with respect to potential effects on human and animal health.”
    European Food Safety Authority. The EFSA Journal (2009) 1149: 1-85.
  • “No potential public health and safety concerns have been identified in the assessment of insect protected corn line MON 810. Based on the data submitted in the present application, food derived from this corn line can be regarded as equivalent to food derived from conventional corn in respect of its composition, safety and end use.”
    Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Application A346.

There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet, and we understand you may want to learn more to answer your questions about the safety of MON810 corn hybrids.
We’ve made the following detailed and more scientific information about the safety of MON810 corn hybrids available on our web site if you are interested in learning more:

  Food Feed Import Planting
Argentina 1998 1998   1998
Australia 2000   2000  
Brazil 2007 2007   2008
Canada 1997 1997   1997
Chile       2007
China 2004   2004  
Colombia 2003 2006 2003  
Egypt, Arab Rep.       2008
European Union 1998 1998   2004
Honduras 2002 2002   2002
Japan 1997 1997   1996
Korea, Rep. 2002   2002  
Malaysia 1998 1998 1998  
Mexico 2002   2002  
New Zealand 2000   2000  
Philippines 2002 2002   2002
South Africa 1997 1997   1997
Taiwan 2002 2002 2002  
USA 1996 1996   1995
Uruguay 2003 2003   2003

NOTE: Approvals are sought in countries where the product will be grown, as well as countries that import commodities from regions where the product will be grown. Open cells represent markets where approvals were not necessarily needed or where approvals are currently in progress.