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ERMA New Zealand Clarifies Agresearch GM Approvals

Media Advisory
14 JANUARY 2008

ERMA New Zealand Clarifies Agresearch GM Approvals

Recent reports have suggested that AgResearch might obtain an amendment to its current genetically modified cattle approvals so that it can move the animals around the country. Furthermore, the stories suggest that this application will not be open to public consultation.

These reports are incorrect. This media advisory is being issued to clarify AgResearch's approvals and to assist journalists in their future coverage of the genetically modified cattle research.

ERMA New Zealand can confirm that any application to move genetically modified animals around the country would be subject to full public consultation. It is probable that the misunderstanding is the result of confusion between an amendment that AgResearch is seeking to one of its existing approvals and other new applications that it intends to make this year.

AgResearch currently has two approvals from the Authority for GM cattle research:
• GMF 98009 – a two-part field test approval for milk research, involving field testing. One part of this research is due to expire in November 2008.
• GMD 02028 – an outdoor development approval looking at the development of human proteins in cows' milk for pharmaceutical purposes.

ERMA New Zealand understands that AgResearch intends to make applications this year for a number of new approvals. Among other things, these applications are expected to cover the creation of a number of new secure research facilities (at present, there is only one – Ruakura) and to seek permission to move animals between these facilities. If the Authority approved such an application, these new facilities would then have to be separately approved by MAF before they could be used to hold genetically modified animals.

AgResearch is also currently considering making an application to amend the GMF 98009 approval under section 67A of the HSNO Act. This application would be to align approval GMF 98009 with GMD 02028. It would not cover moving animals around the country. This section 67A application, which would be for a minor or technical amendment to the approval, would not be open to public consultation.

If journalists require any background information about approvals for genetic modification research or have questions about the process, ERMA New Zealand staff are always available to assist. Copies of applications and Authority decisions are also available through ERMA New Zealand's website, www.ermanz.govt.nz


ENDS

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