The Environmental Risk Management Authority has responded positively to an application to field test genetically modified onions and other plants.
Crop & Food Research is seeking ERMA's clearance for the trials which would also include GM spring onions, leeks and garlic, to assess their performance in the field as well as their environmental impact.
ERMA is yet to hear submissions on the application.
But it's issued a preliminary report on its evaluation and recommendations, which says the proposed field test, at a site near Lincoln, would pose a negligible risk on the environment and human health and safety.
It says the trial would provide significant benefits, including increasing scientific knowledge.
A public hearing on the application will be held in Christchurch on 12 August.