The approved soybean traits are Monsanto’s soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788, soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 and Bayer CropScience’s soybean FG 72.
All of the soybeans have gone through a comprehensive authorization procedure, including a favorable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the commission said.
The authorization decisions do not cover cultivation, but will allow these varieties to be used in food or animal feed.
The authorizations are valid for 10 years, and any products produced from these GMs will be subject to the E.U.'s strict labelling and traceability rules.
Monsanto’s soybeans are called “Roundup Ready 2 Xtend,” and are resistant to a combination of herbicides. Monsanto sold some of the seeds this year, but it is planning a full system launch in the U.S. and Canada in 2017. It said it could supply 15 million U.S. soy acres when the season arrives.
Some grain trading companies had said they wouldn’t buy the Monsanto soybeans from farmers without the E.U. approval, fearing that the soybeans could end up in E.U. shipments and then be rejected for import.
“We’ve seen great demand from growers for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto president and chief operating officer (COO). “Farmers are telling us they’re looking forward to the benefits of the full Xtend Crop System, including over-the-top use of dicamba and glyphosate. We’re excited to give Canadian growers this opportunity in 2017, along with U.S. growers pending final EPA approval.”
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend is Monsanto’s newest soybean platform that includes tolerance to dicamba. This new dicamba-tolerant trait is stacked with the current Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean trait technology, which offers farmers the highest yield opportunity with more beans per pod and more bushels per acre.
“It’s important to remind growers that, at this time, there are still no dicamba formulations registered for in-crop use in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans or Bollgard II XtendFlex in the United States,” said Miriam Paris, U.S. soybean marketing manager. “The approvals for in-crop use of dicamba are in the late stages of review by the EPA and are tracking for a late summer, early fall approval. Pending dicamba over-the-top approval, growers will continue to maximize their yield opportunity through the weed management recommendations and incentives provided by Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions.”
COCERAL, FEDIOL and FEFAC, representing commodity collection and trade, oilseed crushing and compound feed manufacturing said they regret the E.U. Commission gave no explanation for the delay in making a final decision. The delay, they said, has created undue uncertainty in export countries and at the level of importers, food and feed business operators.
The groups reiterated the need for a robust, predictable E.U. GM import authorization system providing legal certainty to operators to ensure vital protein supplies to the E.U. feed and livestock sector.