MPI have sought our assistance in undertaking a recall of several genetically modified (GM) petunias, and identifying others that may be in New Zealand. See letter from MPI.
If you grow the named varieties, contact MPI (firstname.lastname@example.org, and please copy me in, email@example.com). MPI will then advise action to be taken; essentially to surrender and destroy any stock.
While MPI have identified just three varieties known to be in New Zealand, overseas authorities have identified others - see variety list. If you grow any of these, please also contact MPI, and copy me in so we can build a database of varieties and growers.
If you grow petunias under licence, you can also help by seeking data from your supplier on the genetic status of all petunia varieties – both seed and vegetative varieties.
MPI, and overseas authorities, accept that growers were completely unaware that these varieties include GM material and no action other than asking growers to voluntarily recall and surrender stock is planned. These varieties however are GM by definition, and now that they have been identified as such, it is an offence to knowingly grow them.
We implore you to act promptly please, noting that the recall is "voluntary" to the extent that industry is being given the opportunity to act decisively and avoid a formal biosecurity response direction.
MPI have issued a media statement this morning. It will no doubt raise concerns in the community, and we are preparing industry communications and key messages.
MPI are also revising the import health standard for petunias. All Petunia species imported as plants or seeds will require a GM certificate stating they are GM free before being allowed to enter New Zealand.
NZPPI will be working on this too with MPI, suppliers and members.
NZPPI is partnering with MPI in this work, and as your industry body, we’re here to help you too. Please contact John Liddle - 021 370 168, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need more information or help.