March 2013

GM stance praised (Whangarei District Council takes action to stop GMO land use)

GM stance praised

Last updated 09:27 21/03/2013


Kerikeri Bay Chronicle


Jubilation is the word used by GE Free Northland, in response to a Whangarei District Council stand against genetically modified organisms on its land.

The council voted unanimously this month to act on the recommendations of the Inter Council Working Party on GMO risk evaluation and management options.

GE fungus escapes at Lincoln University

GE fungus escapes at Lincoln University

Officials are investigating how a genetically modified soil fungus escaped containment facilities at Lincoln University, near Christchurch.

The fungus was found in restricted access laboratories and greenhouses on university grounds earlier this month, but the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says does not yet know how it escaped the tighter security.

It believes the environmental threat is very low.

The genetic modification involved adding marker genes to indicate the fungus' presence in research plants.

"At this stage, we believe it is unlikely any potentially genetically modified Beauveria bassiana fungus has spread further," said MPI's Roger Smith.

All samples and plant materials known to contain the modified fungus have been secured. MPI was now checking if any other material may have been inadvertently exposed to the fungus.

Lincoln University assistant vice-chancellor Stefanie Rixecker says researchers had believed they were working with a wild fungus, before it was discovered it had a genetic marker attached to it.

The university took breaches of containment very seriously and the investigation would be very thorough, she said.

The Green Party says the release is a "massive wake up call to our environmental regulators".

"It's absolutely not acceptable that almost two weeks after this breach the ministry still doesn't know how it occurred," said genetic engineering spokesman Steffan Browning.

Council brings control of outdoor use of genetically modified organisms a step closer


Media Release  14 March 2013


Council brings control of outdoor use of genetically modified organisms a step closer


Introducing a robust, legal way for local government to manage the risks posed by outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a step closer following a decision by Whangarei District Council’s District Living Committee.



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