GM foods and the use of DNA sequences from a common plant virus
In January 2013 an article published by Independent Science News claimed that part of a common plant virus gene used in genetically modified (GM) crops may be harmful to humans.
The news article refers to a scientific paper about the cauliflower mosaic virus by Podevin and du Jardin and asserts that regulators were not aware of all the facts in the paper, and may need to re-evaluate some approvals for GM foods.
FSANZ has reviewed the research paper and the news article and is confident there are no scientific grounds for reviewing approvals of GM foods which use fragments of the viral gene.
Human exposure to DNA from the cauliflower mosaic virus and all its protein products through consumption of conventional foods is common and there is no evidence of any adverse health effects.
Genes from the virus in question have been used safely in transgenic plants for almost 30 years and have been extensively characterised. There is no credible scientific evidence suggesting its use poses a risk to human health or safety.
The European Food Safety Authority has reached similar conclusions and has released a statement in response.