The sugar beet variety in question, H7-1, has been genetically modified to be resistant to the controversial herbicide glyphosate, manufactured by Monsanto itself.
EFSA carried out the original opinion, giving the crop the health and safety all-clear, back in 2006 and the European Commission authorised the crop for import and processing in 2007 for a period of ten years.
Monsanto and Germany-headquartered KWS had requested a scientific risk assessment in order to apply for a renewed authorisation of the GM beet.
The EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms wrote: “Under the assumption that the DNA sequence of the event in sugar beet H7-1 […] is identical to the originally assessed event, the GMO Panel concludes that there is no evidence […] for new hazards, modified exposure or scientific uncertainties that would change the conclusions of the original risk assessment on sugar beet H7-1.”
The sugar beet’s EU authorisation was granted to be used in food and feed imports and processing, and food containing ingredients produced from it.
It does not include authorisation for cultivation within the European Union (EU).
GM food and ingredients may be sold in the EU but if the GM content is greater than 0.9% this must be clearly labelled on pack – a rule that has acted as a de facto ban due to consumer mistrust.