24 Jun 2010

Call for import rules review in wake of GM decision

4:41 pm on 24 June 2010

The Soil and Health Association is calling for a review of the country's import standards following a decision to lift a ban on the sale of genetically modified alfalfa seeds in the United States.

The US Supreme Court has overturned a national injunction barring farmers from planting a GM strain of alfalfa (lucerne) developed by Monsanto to be resistant to the company's pesticide, Roundup.

Soil and Health spokesperson Steffan Browning says US farmers could get approval from the US Department of Agriculture to sow the GM seeds in the next 12 months.

He says the Ministry of Agriculture and Biosecurity should review its import procedures, which he says are reasonably good but have not always stopped problems from arising.

However, he says, no matter what New Zealand's processes are, further production of GM alfalfa in the US will increase the risk to New Zealand.

MAF Biosecurity's plant imports and exports group manager, Stephen Butcher, says he is confident that the import standards in place are enough to keep the GM seeds out of the country.