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MAF investigates GM sweet corn importation

Friday 1 December 2006

MAF investigates GM sweet corn importation

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is investigating the importation of genetically modified (GM) sweet corn that was inadvertently cleared by MAF’s Quarantine Service in October 2006.

Two consignments of sweet corn seeds imported from the US totalling 1,800kg were incorrectly cleared by MAF at that time.

While each consignment was accompanied by certificates showing a negative GM test result, additional documentation from the original batches of seeds from which these consignments were derived indicated the presence of GM.

The combination of these results suggests that any GM that may have entered New Zealand is present at extremely low levels.

MAF is now checking to see where these seeds were sent and whether any have been planted this season. The quantities imported could be used to plant an area of up to 400ha.

The documentation accompanying these seeds gives no indication as to the nature of the GM constructs involved.

MAF will be working with affected parties to locate all affected material. Subsequent actions will be determined by these discussions. MAF is also investigating its border clearance procedures to better understand what happened in this case and to prevent future occurrences.

ENDS

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