Lepidopteran Protected Corn – MON 95379

In 2020, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of a genetically modified (GM) corn (i.e. maize) line that produces two insecticidal proteins to protect against lepidopteran pests; the line is referred to as MON 95379. 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, and still has all its nutritional value such that it does not differ from other corn varieties available on the market. Our scientists also assessed how this corn line was developed and whether it can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Health Canada has approved food produced from MON 95349 corn for sale in Canada. MON 95379 corn was modified to be resistant to lepidopteran pests. Two genes were added to MON 95379 corn that produce two proteins that act like insecticides and protect the plant 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 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 95379 would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of MON 95379 corn compared to other traditional corn varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada's assessment of MON 95379 was conducted according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods. The approach taken by Health Canada in the safety assessment of genetically modified (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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