A1274 - Food derived from disease-resistant banana line QCAV-4

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved an application from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to permit food derived from a banana line genetically modified (GM) for resistance to Panama disease.

Banana line QCAV-4 is the first whole GM fruit assessed and approved by FSANZ and the first GM banana approved in the world.

The Australian and New Zealand Food Ministers did not seek a review of the GM banana's approval for food use.

The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has approved a license for the commercial cultivation of banana line QCAV-4 in a separate but parallel regulatory assessment.

QUT has indicated there are no immediate plans to commercialise the GM banana in Australia as Panama disease is currently contained and effectively managed in the domestic industry.

Panama disease causes wilting and death in banana plants and is a severe threat to the banana industry worldwide.

More information including the FSANZ approval report and assessment documents for Application A1274 – Food derived from disease-resistant banana line QCAV-4 is available below.

FSANZ food safety assessment

FSANZ safety assessment found food derived from banana line QCAV-4 is as safe and nutritious as comparable conventional banana already in the Australian and New Zealand food supply.

The assessment considered the genetic modification, potential unintended changes, the nutrient content compared to conventional bananas and potential allergenicity or toxicity.

Our GM food safety assessment page has more information.

OGTR banana plant assessment

In addition to food approval from FSANZ, QUT sought a licence from the Gene Technology Regulator (GTR) for the commercial cultivation of the GM banana plant in Australia.

The assessment was undertaken by the OGTR which approved the licence.

It is the first time GM food safety and plant cultivation licencing assessments have been conducted in parallel in Australia.

The parallel assessment provided an opportunity to identify efficiencies and enhance communication with stakeholders.

Information relating to the commercial release application is available on the OGTR website (DIR-199​). 



Panama disease

Panama disease (Fusarium wilt tropical race 4) attacks nearly all banana varieties, including Lady Finger and Cavendish – Australia’s most grown variety. The fungus can persist in soil for decades and there are no effective control measures. There is currently no cure and no disease resistant banana varieties have been identified.  

More information on Panama disease is available here​. 

Cultivation of disease-resistant GM banana   

QUT has indicated the GM banana will be used as a ‘safety net’ solution should Panama disease heavily impact Australian banana farms.

The disease has been found in the Northern Territory and Queensland but effective management has controlled its spread.

Cultivation of this GM banana in New Zealand would require separate regulatory assessment and approval by the EPA in New Zealand.

Cultivation of the banana and the sale of fruit in other countries would be subject to domestic regulator approval.

Bananas are a staple part of diets and an important source of nutrition in many countries, however Panama disease has the potential to impact an estimated 80 per cent of global banana production.

The availability of disease-resistant bananas can play a part in ensuring sustainable and secure food production systems in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Food products

If cultivated, food derived from the disease-resistant GM banana would primarily be available in Australia as fresh fruit. It also may be used in processed food i.e. dried or frozen banana, banana pulp and various baked goods.  

New Zealand EPA has advised that food businesses intending to export / import fresh GM banana to / into New Zealand will need to consult the EPA about whether the fresh banana fruit would be considered a new organism. Additionally, New Zealand MPI has advised that food businesses should seek advice about biosecurity requirements from MPI.

Labelling requirements 

Existing labelling requirements for GM foods will apply to food derived from this banana line. Existing exemptions from GM labelling requirements, including for food sold in restaurants, will also apply.

Our GM food labelling page has more information.

Approval report

Call for submissions