Initial feedback on sweet corn import processes
22 December 2006
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has received initial feedback from reviewer David Oughton on his work in reviewing the circumstances that led to the recent importation of sweet corn seed with low level presence of GM.
David Oughton is a former Secretary of Justice who was commissioned by the Director General of MAF to review this incident and related matters.
The review is still in progress, but some initial feedback has been received. This indicates that there was an error of judgement on the part of the inspecting officer with respect to these consignments, compounded by a lack of appropriate peer review.
MAF has already taken steps to address the lack of suitable peer review. MAF also plans to take action to improve border clearance systems for these type of imports, and training of individuals involved in such activities to minimise the possibility of this happening again.
Mr Oughton will be continuing his review work in the New Year. No deadline has been set for his final report. MAF is also undertaking further review work to ensure that its border inspectors are effectively supported in their work with robust systems, training and support.
At an operational level, all of the affected sweet corn has been identified and destruction of the 260ha planted is expected to be completed in the next week, depending on weather conditions.
Further information contact:
Brett Sangster, Director Corporate Communications
Phone: 0-4-894 0165 or 0-29-894 0165