Unauthorised GM petunias may be in New Zealand

Untitled Document

Update - 20 July 2017

NZPPI is working with MPI and growers on two fronts.

  • The first started with the recall of impacted varieties so that none are on the market this spring.   Growers have responded well to calls to make us and MPI aware of impacted varieties they’ve unknowingly grown in the past.  Now that they are aware of the issue, they’ve destroyed any seed or propagation stock.  We’ve a high level of confidence that all varieties that will be sold in New Zealand will be GM-free.

    The list of impacted varieties continues to change, and we and growers are also helping MPI compile a database of all petunia in the NZ market to aid a rapid response to the identification of newly impacted varieties overseas and the determination of whether they are in New Zealand.

  • The second is with MPI’s plant imports team and their work in reviewing the import health standard for petunia seed and nursery stock.  Currently imports are subject to emergency measures enacted in June, requiring all petunia imports to be accompanied by a GM test certificate.  Work with MPI, importers, breeders and seed producers seeks a practicable solution that will give MPI the assurance it needs while enabling an efficient import pathway

If you import petunia seed, tissue or nursery stock and you’re not on our GM Petunia mailing list, please contact John Liddle, john@nzppi.co.nz.

8 June 2017

MPI have sought NZPPI's 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 (info@mpi.govt.nz, and please copy me in, john@nzppi.co.nz). 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, john@nzppi.co.nz, if you need more information or help.

Untitled Document

MPI's Webpage - include updated variety list - near bottom of page

MPI's letter to NZPPI and Growers

MPI's List of confirmed GM petunia varieties found in other countries

MPI's advice for retailers


Petunia African Sunset

Petunia Trilogy Red

Petunia Trilogy Deep Purple