Cotton Event MON 88702

In 2017, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of cotton event MON 88702 which has been genetically modified to be insect-resistant. In order to determine whether the food derived from MON 88702 cotton could be sold in Canada, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured the cottonseed oil and cottonseed linters are safe for consumption, still has all its nutritional value and therefore does not differ from other cottonseed oils and linters on the market. Our scientists also needed to assess how the cotton was developed and whether it can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Health Canada has approved food produced from MON 88702 cotton for sale in Canada. MON 88702 cotton was modified to be resistant to three insect pests (tarnished plant bug, cotton fleahopper, and thrips). A gene was added to MON 88702 cotton that produces a protein that acts like an insecticide and protects it from insect pests.

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 cotton did not pose a greater risk to human health than cotton currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that MON 88702 cotton would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of cottonseed oil and linters from MON 88702 cotton compared to other cotton available for consumption.

Health Canada's assessment of MON 88702 cotton 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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