[8 June/ Stuff]

An investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been prompted after unauthorised genetically modified petunia plants have been discovered as having been coming into New Zealand since 2014. The plants entered New Zealand as seeds. The importer reported the modified petunia plants after learning that several petunia varieties were being recalled for being GM in Europe, the United States and Australia in May. MPI Director of Plants, Food and Environment Peter Thomson said there was no evidence that the seeds were deliberately brought into the country. MPI has yet to complete its tracing work and has urged people who know they have the seeds to take them off the shelf. Mr Thompson noted the breach was due to it being illegal to import, develop, field test or release a genetically modified organism without Environmental Protection Authority approval, and added that the plant had no environmental or health risk.