GM Inquiry Welcomed - Anderton
GM inquiry welcomed
An independent inquiry into the Ministry of Agriculture's management of maize and sweet corn seed imports has been welcomed by Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton. The inquiry has been initiated following the discovery of genetically modified sweet corn in seed consignments imported from the United States.
"It is vital that New Zealand's arable farmers can have confidence in our biosecurity systems. Farmers need to be able to preserve their options to produce GM-free crops, which many consumers are demanding," said Jim Anderton.
The enquiry will be led by David Oughton, former Secretary for Justice. The Minister said "I am sure David Oughton's review will reveal any deficiencies in the current system and the Government will move quickly to ensure any such shortcomings are rectified."
He added that the Labour-Progressive Government's policy is quite clear. "Seed imports at risk from genetically modified contaminants must be tested by an approved independent laboratory. And if GM material is detected, then such seeds are barred from entering New Zealand. It appears that human error may have been responsible for these recent unintended GM imports. What's important is that we get this right for the future and that any GMOs detected at the border are either reshipped or destroyed," said Mr Anderton.