Herbicide Tolerant Cotton Event GHB811

In 2017, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of a genetically modified (GM) cotton variety referred to as herbicide tolerant cotton event GHB811. This cotton variety has been genetically modified to be tolerant to glyphosate and 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD)-inhibiting herbicides.

In order to determine whether this GM cotton 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 cotton 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 cotton variety do not pose a greater risk to human health than cotton varieties currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that this GM cotton variety would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no other differences in the nutritional value of this GM cotton variety compared to other traditional cotton varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada’s assessment of herbicide tolerant cotton event GHB811 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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