The European food safety authority was replying to the European Commission's request for an evaluation of the unauthorised GM rice LLRICE601, which was found in samples of commercial rice on the US market.
This prompted the EU to clamp down on all imports from the US, with stringent import procedures put in place.
The GMO panel has now evaluated the available scientific data on LLRICE601. And according to a statement issued by the panel on Friday, there is "insufficient data" to provide a full risk assessment.
However, on the basis of the available molecular and compositional data and the toxicological profile of a newly introduced protein, the panel considered that the consumption of imported long grain rice containing trace levels ofLLRICE601 would not likely pose an imminent safety concern to humans or animals.
LLRICE601 does not differ significantly from conventional rice (except for the PAT protein). However, the panel said there was a lack of data available at present to verify this assumption.
The panel statement will now be forwarded to the European Commission and Member States who are responsible for risk management measures in relation to LLRICE601.
EFSA was asked to examine the scientific data available and inform the European Commission if these data were sufficient to carry out a safety assessment according to EU legislation. EFSAs panel on genetically modified organisms (GMO) met on 13th and 14th September 2006 to consider the request of the European Commission and examine the available scientific data on theLLRICE601 issue.
EFSAs panel took into consideration all relevant scientific information, including data from Bayer Crop Science (the company which has developed LLRICE601), existing scientific data on a very similar GMO rice strain3 and risk assessments carried out by the US authorities.
EFSA is also currently carrying out a risk assessment on GM rice from Bayer Crop Science (LLRICE62), which is very similar to LLRICE601.