Historic genetically modified seed import incidents
MPI's predecessor agencies responded to several incidents between 2001 and 2005 involving genetically modified seed imports. Explore archived documents released at the time under the Official Information Act.
Historic GM incidents
The Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI's) predecessor agencies – the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and its division Biosecurity New Zealand – dealt with a number of incidents involving genetically modified (GM) seed imports between 2001 and 2005. This page has information about the incidents with relevant documents that were released at the time.
'Operation Sand' - Maize 2005
A company's quality assurance testing showed up a GM-positive test in maize seed, which had been grown in the upper North Island. Further testing found the GM presence was due to contamination from GM soy flour that had previously been stored in the same holding area as the maize seed.
'Operation Cracked Kernel' - Maize 2004
An audit of a testing laboratory in the United States indicated potential issues with the way results were reported. Re-testing was arranged for seed consignments that had been imported the previous season.
- Operation 'Cracked Maize' field inspections, 2004-2005 [PDF, 696 KB]
'Operation Sunshine' - Sweet corn 2003
Routine testing found GM present in sweet corn exported from New Zealand to Japan. It was traced back and found to have been grown in Gisborne.
- Suspect genetically modified corn investigation report, July 2003 [PDF, 368 KB]
- Detection of GM in processed sweet corn: review of product traceability and production system [PDF, 81 KB]
- Periodic updates to officials on Gisborne sweetcorn, June-July 2003 [PDF, 66 KB]
- Brief 03-17 Genetically Modified Sweet Corn, 4 July 2003 [PDF, 91 KB]
- Brief 03-23-Genetically Modified Sweet Corn, 8 July 2003 [PDF, 98 KB]
- Brief 03-73-Genetically Modified Sweet Corn, 1 August 2003 [PDF, 104 KB]
- GMO test results for seed grown and harvested in Gisborne during 2003 [PDF, 75 KB]
'Operation Pacific' - Maize 2002
Quality assurance tests indicated the presence of genetically modified maize seeds in crops harvested in Gisborne and Pukekohe in early 2002. The company voluntarily destroyed the seeds.
- Brief 02/50 -GM contamination in maize seeds [PDF, 22 KB]
- A review of the handing of the GM maize incident at Gisborne and Pukekohe. McGregor report [PDF, 116 KB]
- MAF Biosecurity and ERMA New Zealand response to the recommendations of the McGregor report [PDF, 25 KB]
- Appendix 3: site photos [PDF, 549 KB]
- Appendix 4: Meeting with Pacific Seeds to discuss the suspected presence of genetically modified (GM) maize [PDF, 28 KB]
- Appendix 5: Ministerial briefing, 28 August 2002 [PDF, 4 MB]
- Appendix 6: ERMA/MAF meeting – potential genetically modified maize incident, 29 August 2002 [PDF, 21 KB]
- Appendix 7: Proposed post-entry control procedures for maize crops [PDF, 31 KB]
- Appendix 8: Proposed site management for Pacific Seed maize sites, September 2002 – March 2003 [PDF, 17 KB]
- Appendix 9: Results of testing performed by GeneScan, Australia, and Biogenetic Services, USA [PDF, 15 KB]
- Appendix 10: Conclusions from a meeting to discuss the interpretation of test results on seed grown at the affected sites in Gisborne and Pukekohe, 18 September 2002 [PDF, 18 KB]
'Corngate' - Maize 2000/2001
Infamously dubbed 'Corngate', sweet corn seed imported from the United States was suspected to have been contaminated with genetically modified sweet corn seed.
General discussion papers
- Zea mays breeding in New Zealand: Analysis of the probability of perpetuating transgenes in breeding material. Allan K. Hardacre May 2004 [PDF, 520 KB]
- Border control for genetically modified (GM) seeds. MAF discussion paper 2002 [PDF, 68 KB]