MAFBNZ takes action regarding GM brassica trial

10 February 2009

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) has completed their review of the Plant & Food Research internal report into a reported breach of containment facility requirements at Plant & Food Research - the Lincoln-based crown research institute containment facility where genetically modified (GM) brassica plants had been growing as part of an approved field trial.

MAFBNZ Group Manager, Operational Standards and Facilities Clive Gower-Collins said the Plant & Food Research has agreed on a range of interim actions to be taken immediately under the Biosecurity Act 1993. These include:

  • an increase in the audit regime to ensure compliance is achieved;
  • the current Operator approval is cancelled;
  • the new Operator to secure the necessary resources required to effectively manage the field trial;
  • ensure the new Operator has the necessary skills and knowledge of containment principles to manage the trial; and
  • the containment manual to be updated to provide for more effective internal monitoring, including staff training to ensure all field trial staff understand the approved HSNO Act controls.

Mr Gower-Collins says MAFBNZ is also looking at what further steps may be appropriate regarding this non-compliance.

He says MAFBNZ has conducted its own separate investigations, regarding the possibility of cross-pollination with surrounding crops, and these have determined any cross-pollination as highly unlikely.

“We will continue work on finalising a set of options for management of the containment facility into the future”, Mr Gower-Collins says.

ENDS

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nnie Wright, Senior Communications Adviser
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