Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Sustainability Council Update May 04

Sustainability Council Update May 04

During a fortnight in which GM matters were again in the headlines, the Sustainability Council ’s acting Chair, Professor Garth Cooper, formally opened its new Wellington offices last Thursday. Dr Cooper told those gathered for the function that after two years in operation, the Council was now well established and would continue to provide high quality research on GM matters.

Monsanto’s announcement early last week that it had pulled the plug on plans to release GM wheat in North America1 reinforced the lack of market support for GM foods. The development of GM wheat was a six-year research project designed to bring forward a major new variety for Monsanto, but it encountered severe market resistance when major purchasers were surveyed. Later in the week, Monsanto also announced that it was closing down its work on GM canola in Australia.

Each of the Australian states that grow canola have banned its cultivation on the basis of economic and marketing concerns. A further recent retrenchment – this time in New Zealand - was the announcement by Francis Wevers that the successor to the Life Sciences Network, the Bioscience Policy Institute, was to close its doors due to a lack of financial support. Launched late last year, the institute was Chaired by Jim Bolger and the governing board included Margaret Austin, Ken Douglas, Dr Jean Fleming, Sir Tipene O’Regan and Dr James Watson.

Last week also brought news of the discovery that a US lab accredited by MAF to vet seeds for GM content had passed at least two batches of maize seed that were GM contaminated.

This raised again the risk of food exports being affected via contaminated seeds entering the country. Suggestions from some players that a tolerance limit for contamination be introduced ignored the fact that it is markets, not government that ultimately set contamination standards. In premium markets that standard is zero.

A local company, that had made every effort to produce to a GM free standard, confirmed this to its $500,000 cost last year when routine testing by a Japanese fastfood producer revealed trace GM presence in one of its products.

Recent news also highlighted that GM contamination could in future mean something very different. The development of food crops genetically modified to produce pharmaceuticals and other materials has brought forward regulatory concerns on a quite different level where the risk is inadvertent consumption of drugs through cross contamination.

A director of The US Department of Agriculture stated that pollen flow and accidental co-mingling remain major challenges to segregating crops intended for food uses from those designated for pharmaceutical or industrial use.4

The ultimate risk bearers of the outdoor use of GM are the communities that host any release. The Sustainability Council recently presented to the regional council governing the Bay of Plenty noting that the currently regulatory regime left local authorities and their communities exposed on certain matters, including liability for damages should harm result from a GM release.

Environment Bay of Plenty has subsequently announced that it wishes to “find out what role regional councils can take in regulating the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment” (see full statement below). It is approaching other regional councils to support it in obtaining a legal opinion on this question.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news