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


Call for MAF to improve biosecurity protocols

Call for MAF to improve biosecurity protocols

GE Free (NZ) is calling on MAF to improve their biosecurity protocols for seed imports into NZ to ensure that the current zero tolerance standard for GE contamination remains in place. “To date, MAF's monitoring of such contamination has been poor,” said spokesperson Claire Bleakley. This puts NZ's primary producers, economy and environment at risk.”

GE Free (NZ) is particularly concerned that MAF has permitted farmers to replant maize or sweet corn at a number of North Island sites where the illegal GE-contaminated maize Liberty Link T25 was discovered last year. Planting has occurred despite concerns raised by local authorities and primary producers about GE volunteers (generally volunteers are plants that haven't been planted but have planted themselves).

"As corn is wind pollinated, it (the pollen) can travel miles. If care is not taken, even a small amount of GE pollen can cause extensive contamination" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment.

“Pollution from GMOs cannot be controlled once in the open environment. MAF should improve its biosecurity protocols now to avoid further problems.

Liberty Link GE corn plants contain an antibiotic marker gene, bacterial insecticidal proteins (Bt) and viral gene fragments in every cell of the plant. Crops producing Bt proteins continually manufacture their own insecticidal toxins, which are always present at high levels within the plant.
Published experiments have shown immune system damage, heart and kidney abnormalities and blood disorders in laboratory animals fed with GE crops. No clinical
diagnostic tools are available to test for adverse effects in humans.

”MAF must ensure that any fields that contained GE contaminated maize are not replanted with maize or sweet corn,” said [……...]. A recent British study has shown that GE canola seed can still be viable after 15 years. It is also possible that stray GE corn seed may remain viable for some years. Weedkillers such as Roundup are unlikely to kill GE seed

Japan and Europe, two of New Zealand’s major trading partners, specify that non-GE crops, which command a premium price, must contain no GE DNA.

GE-FreeNZ has urged MAF to move swiftly to protect farmers and the environment from GE contamination by improving their biosecurity procedures.



Lutman PJW et al , 2005. Persistence of seeds from crops of conventional and herbicide tolerant oilseed rape (Brassica napus). Proc.R.Soc B (2005) 272, 1909-1915 22nd September 2005.

Roundup Ready Sudden Death, Superweeds, Allergens. Time to Wipe GM Crops Off the Globe. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins update on the failures of the most widely planted GM crop. ISIS Press Release 03/10/05

Sustainability Council of NZ Media Release of 17 Aug 05

"Strong Public Support for Zero Tolerance to GM Contamination" There has been very limited reform of border detection systems since the
illegal GE breach in 2003 and the review this triggered. MAF's current test
for imported seed uses such a small sample size that around 5% of the time, the single test required will not show up GMOs at concentrations of 0.1% or less. New Zealand food producers that are serious about detecting GM content use between two and fifteen times the sample size MAF requires. Trebling the number of seeds used would reduce from 5% to 1% the chances of the border test missing GM contamination at a level of 0.1%.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Voluntary Administration: Renaissance Brewing Up For Sale

Renaissance Brewing, the first local company to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, is up for sale after cash flow woes and product management issues led to the appointment of voluntary administrators. More>>


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>


Media Mega Merger: Full Steam Ahead For Appeal

New Zealand's two largest news publishers have confirmed they are committed to pursuing their appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>