Biotech Updates

ERMA Plans Hearing for GM Field Test Application

June 13, 2008

New Zealand’s Environmental Risk Assessment Management Authority (ERMA) expects to hold a public proceeding in August or September to hear oral submissions on the Institute for Crop and Food Research’s application to field test genetically modified (GM) onions, spring onions, garlic and leeks. Crop and Food Research has submitted an application to plant the transgenic vegetable species in a 2.5 hectare field at the Institute’s Lincoln facility southwest of Christchurch for a 10-year research project.

According to Libby Harrison, ERMA New Zealand’s General Manager, New Organisms, ERMA has received more than 120 submissions, mostly from iwi (social units in Maori population), community groups and scientists, on the application. This is just a fraction of the 1933 submissions received for Crop and Food’s previous genetically modified onions application in 2003. Harrison pointed out ERMA will base its decision, not on the number of submissions, but on the quality of inputs submitted.

The media release is available at