May 28, 2007
The Environmental Risk
Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) has approved an
application by the New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food
Research to field test genetically-modified brassicas in the
However, ERMA New Zealand has included strict controls to manage
the risk of GM material escaping from the site.
Crop and Food applied for permission to assess the agronomic
performance of four genetically-modified vegetable and forage
brassicas – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and forage kale – on
a 0.4 hectare plot over a 10-year period. The brassicas would be
modified for resistance to caterpillar pests like cabbage white
butterfly and diamondback moth, with genes derived from the
bacterium Bacillus thuringensis.
A public hearing was held in Christchurch last month to consider
the application, which attracted 959 submissions.
The Authority has approved the field test with a number of
- a requirement to prevent
the flowering and therefore pollen release of GM brassicas
while they are planted in the field test site;
- a requirement to ensure
that all GM brassicas are removed from the field test site
on completion of the research and do not enter the human or
animal food chain, in any form.
- a requirement to monitor
the field test site for one year after the last brassicas
have been removed to look for any “volunteer” GM plants.
ERMA New Zealand’s General
Manager, New Organisms, Libby Harrison, says the field test is
subject to strict controls to ensure that the GM brassicas
remain contained within the field test site, and do not enter
the food chain.
Dr Harrison would like to thank all submitters and acknowledge
their contribution to the decision-making process.
- Crop & Food Research welcomes ERMA
decision to allow a contained field test of GM brassicas