Oct. 30, 2015
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is calling for submissions on proposed amendments to clarify the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Organisms Not Genetically Modified) Regulations 1998.
The regulations describe organisms that technically meet the Act’s definition of a genetically modified organism (GMO) but do not require regulation as GMOs.
Why the EPA is carrying out this consultation
In 2014, a High Court decision highlighted issues with the wording and workability of the regulations.
As a result the Ministry for the Environment has looked at the regulations.
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act provides for the EPA to consult on changes to the regulations when directed to by the Minister. The consultation document was developed by the EPA and was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday 27 October. The consultation document is available on the EPA website (under “consultations”), along with a glossary that explains the technical terms used.
The EPA must seek input from anyone who might be affected by the proposed amendments, and then inform the Minister of the content of submissions received.
New Zealand has a robust decision-making process for the regulation of genetically modified organisms and the proposals in this consultation will not affect that process.
The proposed change to the regulations
In brief, the consultation document proposes a clarification to show that organisms and plants bred using chemical and radiation treatments which were in use on or before 29 July 1998 will not be considered genetically modified under the law.