Herbicide Tolerant Maize – MON 87419

In 2014, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of a genetically modified (GM) corn (i.e. maize) line that is tolerant to the herbicides dicamba and glufosinate; the line is referred to as MON 87419. In order to determine whether this corn line could be sold in Canada as food, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured the corn line is safe for consumption, still has all its nutritional value and therefore does not differ from other corn varieties available on the market. Our scientists also needed to assess how this corn line was developed and whether it can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

The science behind MON 87419 is quite simple. Two genes were introduced into the corn line that allows the plant to break down or modify dicamba and glufosinate so that these herbicides are no longer harmful to the plant itself. In every other way, MON 87419 is identical to any other corn variety.

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 corn line did not pose a greater risk to human health than corn varieties currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that MON 87419 would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of MON 87419 corn compared to other traditional corn varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada's assessment of MON 87419 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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