Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


GM sweet corn investigation update

GM sweet corn investigation update

Update of investigation into suspected GM contaminated corn

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and New Zealand Food Safety Authority officials today provided an update on their investigations into a case of possible GM contamination of sweet corn harvested in the Gisborne region earlier this year. Officials from ERMA New Zealand have also been closely involved with these investigations.

AgriQuality GMO Services laboratory in Melbourne has worked through the weekend to determine the genetically modified organism and the concentration at which it was present in the corn harvested.

“The laboratory results indicate the presence of Bt11, an insect-resistant variety of sweet corn and the only commercially-available GM sweet corn variety. Eleven of the most common types of GM constructs found in varieties of corn were tested for. All of these tests showed negative results,” MAF Biosecurity group director Barry O’Neil said.

“Concentration of this GM organism is very low – less than 0.05 percent. This is less than five seeds in a sample of 10,000 seeds.”

“Bt11 is one of the GM corn varieties that has been approved for consumption in New Zealand by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and the level of GM concentration is well below the Australia/New Zealand standard for unintentional presence of 1 percent,” Food Safety Authority director plant and dairy products Tim Knox said.

“Information received from the company involved suggests that the corn exported to Japan was a trial shipment and no product has been released for consumption in Japan or in New Zealand.

“Given this information and the outcomes of the tests, it appears that no further action will be required by the NZFSA,” Tim Knox said.

“MAF is investigating several possible pathways for contamination. These are the original seeds imported from the United States; the possibility of cross-contamination from other crops grown adjacent to the sweet corn fields at Gisborne; contamination during the harvesting and processing stages; and possible contamination during laboratory testing,” Barry O’Neil said.

“Because the level of contamination is so low, the import pathway cannot be ruled out as a source. Tests of the imported seed line – both by the importing company and by MAF – could have missed this contamination.

“The audit of the harvesting and processing systems will provide more information on the possibility of contamination and on the exact status of all material harvested.

“This audit will start on Monday once the specialists arrive. The weekend’s severe weather, resulting in road closures and the cancellation of some flights to Gisborne disrupted their travel plans,” Barry O’Neil said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news