Abiotic Stress and Herbicide Tolerant HB4 Soybean (IND-00410-5)

In 2018, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of a genetically modified (GM) soybean variety referred to as abiotic stress and herbicide tolerant HB4 soybean (IND-00410-5) (i.e., HB4 soybean). This soybean variety has been genetically modified to exhibit increased tolerance to environmental stresses (resulting in reduced crop yield loss) and tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium herbicides.

In order to determine whether this GM soybean variety could be sold in Canada as food, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured this variety is safe for consumption. Our scientists also needed to assess how this GM soybean variety was developed and whether the event can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the results.

Following this assessment, it was determined that the changes made to this GM soybean variety do not pose a greater risk to human health than soybean varieties currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that this GM soybean variety would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of this GM soybean variety compared to other traditional soybean varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada's assessment of HB4 soybean was conducted according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods. The approach taken by Health Canada in the safety assessment of GM foods is based upon scientific principles developed through expert international consultation over the last 20 years with agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The approach taken by Canada is currently applied by regulatory agencies around the world in countries such as the European Union, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and the United States.

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