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Friday 1 December 2006
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.
Brett Sangster, Director Corporate Communications
Phone: 0-4-894 0165 or 0-29-894 0165