Sugar produced from insect-protected sugarcane, as safe as sugar produced from conventional sugarcane

The United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded recently that raw and refined sugar produced from Brazil’s first genetically-modified sugarcane variety, called CTC20BT, is safe.

The US FDA focused its safety assessment on sugar, because it is the main sugarcane-derived product imported to the US from Brazil.

In addition to sugar refining, the Brazilian sugarcane sector uses sugarcane by products domestically to produce ethanol fuel for vehicles and to burn to generate electricity.

Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira submitted information and studies to FDA that showed that sugar produced from the insect-protected sugarcane was as safe as sugar produced from conventional sugarcane.

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The insect-protected sugarcane was developed by Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira – a company focused on improving sugarcane varieties and technologies in Brazil.

The data also showed that the highly refined sugar was compositionally identical to sugar produced from conventional varieties.

The recent US FDA approval followed a similar approval for sugar from Health Canada earlier this year.

The sugarcane was first approved for cultivation in Brazil by CTNBio – Brazil’s National Biosafety Technical Committee, in June 2017, following a detailed review process.

The new variety developed by Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, produces the Cry1Ab Bt protein to establish resistance to the sugarcane borer (Diatraea saccharalis), a major destructive pest in Brazil that causes damage and loss estimated at $1 billion a-year.

The Bt protein found in CTC20BT, has a long history of safe use and has been used widely in global agriculture for more than 20 years in biotechnology-derived crops like maize, and cotton, among others.

The FDA is the US government agency responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety of the nation’s food supply, as well as the efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices.

Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira is a 100 per cent national company focused on research, development, and marketing of varieties of sugarcane and other disruptive technologies.

It has as shareholders the BNDESPar and the main groups of the sugar-ethanol sector, representing more than 60 per cent of the production of sugar and ethanol in Brazil.