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Friday 22 December 2006
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has received initial feedback
from reviewer David Oughton on his work in reviewing the circumstances that led
to the recent importation of sweet corn seed with low level presence of GM.
David Oughton is a former Secretary of Justice who was commissioned by the
Director General of MAF to review this incident and related matters.
The review is still in progress, but some initial feedback has been
received. This indicates that there was an error of judgement on the part of
the inspecting officer with respect to these consignments, compounded by a lack
of appropriate peer review.
MAF has already taken steps to address the lack of suitable peer review. MAF
also plans to take action to improve border clearance systems for these type of
imports, and training of individuals involved in such activities to minimise
the possibility of this happening again.
Mr Oughton will be continuing his review work in the New Year. No deadline
has been set for his final report. MAF is also undertaking further review work
to ensure that its border inspectors are effectively supported in their work
with robust systems, training and support.
At an operational level, all of the affected sweet corn has been identified
and destruction of the 260ha planted is expected to be completed in the next
week, depending on weather conditions.
Further information contact:
Brett Sangster, Director Corporate Communications
Phone: 0-4-894 0165 or 0-29-894 0165