The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) an organization not exactly known for its acceptance of modern technology has given its OK to a new genetically engineered soybean produced by Monsanto. The GMO panel of the EFSA rules on scientific issues pertaining to the approval of any GMO crops.
These issues include both possible adverse effects on human and animal health as well as environmental effects.
As reported by Food Navigator, the new genetic modification will change the types of lipids found in soybean oils that will be used in both human foods and animal feeds. According to the EFSA report, the new variety will have lipid-altering enzymes that will produce four new fatty acids, and less linoleic acid.
In the report, the EFSA noted that the alterations in soy oil lipid profile are unlikely to constitute a toxicological risk or to have negative nutritional consequences for humans.
While this scientific assessment is good news for Monsanto, it doesn t necessarily mean that their new soybean variety is automatically approved for use. As explained on their website, the role of the EFSA is to independently assess any possible risks of GMOs to human and animal health and the environment. EFSA does not authorise GMOs, which is done by the European Commission and Member States in their role as risk managers. EFSA s role is strictly limited to giving scientific advice.
In the United States, according to the USDA, processed soybeans are the world s largest source of animal protein feed, and the second largest source of vegetable oil and they are widely used around the world as well. So if this new oil gains approval in European countries, it could profoundly affect growers and manufacturers alike.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava comments This is obviously just the first step in changing the soybean oil profile. We re not at all surprised that the EFSA found no scientific reason to withhold approval of this new crop the real challenge will be in getting GMO-averse European countries to approve and use it.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom is encouraged. He says, If they keep this up, one of these days the EU will start using round wheels.