"The EFSA GMO Panel considers that the information available for maize MON 810 addresses the scientific comments raised by member states and that maize MON 810 is as safe as its conventional counterpart with respect to potential effects on human and animal health," the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a statement.
It also concluded that the maize was "unlikely to have any adverse effect on the environment in the context of its intended uses". Those intended uses include seed for cultivation.
Monsanto's insect-resistant MON 810 maize is the only GM crop that may as yet be grown commercially in the European Union. Although its original 10-year approval expired in April 2008, the maize may still be grown during the renewal process.
EFSA's opinion is significant since it will provide the basis for EU regulators to begin the process of renewing a 10-year authorisation for growing the GM maize, banned in several EU countries on environment and health concerns.
The European Commission, which administers and monitors EU biotech policy for the bloc's member states, has said it will use the EFSA opinion as the basis for any authorisation renewal. (Reporting by Jeremy Smith)