High Lysine Corn Gazetted

NEW ZEALAND - High lysine corn, a genetically modified variety used for pig and poultry feed has been gazetted in New Zealand and will now be allowed into the country.
calendar icon 20 December 2007
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Although the corn is used as an animal feed, it has had its safety assessed as if for human consumption.

"We are satisfied that this corn is as safe as conventional corn should it ever enter the human food chain."
NZFSA Director (Joint Food Standards), Carole Inkster

Food containing this GM variety can now be imported and sold in New Zealand, although such products would have to adhere to GM labelling requirements, says New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) Director (Joint Food Standards), Carole Inkster.

"Although the corn was assessed as safe some time ago, and was approved by the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in July, the previous Minister for Food Safety (Minister King) delayed its gazettal in New Zealand while she sought advice as to whether approvals for varieties not intended for human food use are within the scope of the Food Treaty New Zealand shares with Australia," said Ms Inkster.

"NZFSA has worked through this issue and advice on this legal matter has now been received. It confirms that approvals for this type of variety are within the scope of the Food Treaty."

Ms Inkster said that the delays are not, contrary to some media reports, because of safety concerns.

"The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) assessment process was thorough and included two rounds of public consultation. The final safety assessment was externally peer-reviewed and, to ensure the assessment took into account the New Zealand context, NZFSA commissioned ESR to analyse the science. We are satisfied that this corn is as safe as conventional corn should it ever enter the human food chain," she said.

High lysine corn has been approved as safe by every country asked to assess it as far as NZFSA is aware. It is a high-value animal feed and its use as a human food is allowed in the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and the Philippines. The FSANZ approval for use of high lysine corn as an animal feed does not allow it to be grown in New Zealand. This would require assessment and approval by the New Zealand Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and further public consultation.
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