The European Commission officially approved the use of Monsanto's YieldGard Rootworm corn (MON 863) and its processed products as food and food ingredients under the Novel Foods Regulation.
With this announcement, the European Union authorizes the immediate use of corn for human consumption. This announcement complements the August 2005 decision which allowed the import, processing and use of YieldGard Rootworm grain in animal feed in the EU.
In addition the EU Commission also granted import, feed and processing approval of YieldGard Plus, which is a hybrid stack of YieldGard Rootworm (MON 863) with YieldGard Corn Borer (MON 810). YieldGard Plus is currently under review by the EU for use in food and food ingredients. The European Commission's ruling does not include the approval of YieldGard Rootworm corn or YieldGard Plus for cultivation in the EU or the import approval for any YieldGard Rootworm combined trait products.
In light of the announcement, growers who planted YieldGard Rootworm single-trait hybrids are encouraged to check with their local grain handler regarding that facility's buying policy. Monsanto is currently awaiting decisions on separate submissions for its corn trait technologies combined with YieldGard Rootworm.
Until these separate submissions within the EU regulatory processes are approved, growers who intend to plant combined trait versions of YieldGard Rootworm hybrids - including YieldGard Rootworm with Roundup Ready Corn 2, YieldGard Plus or YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 - will need to continue to channel the grain under the Market Choices certification mark. For a list of local grain handlers who accept Market Choices designated hybrids, call 1-866-SELLCORN (1-866-735-5267) or go to www.866sellcorn.com.
YieldGard Rootworm corn contains a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (a common soil microbe) that specifically targets corn rootworm larvae, allowing the corn plant to naturally protect its roots against the damaging corn rootworm. The corn rootworm has earned the nickname the "billion-dollar pest" as the USDA estimates that this pest causes $1 billion in lost revenue annually to the U.S. corn crop.