Australian gene technology regulator calls for comment on Genetically Modified Wheat trial
The Australian Government’s gene technology regulator has called for comments on an application by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries for a limited and controlled release of up to 40 lines of wheat that have been genetically modified for increased yield stability.
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) said the primary purpose of the field trial was to “evaluate the agronomic performance of the GM wheat under field conditions”. The trial is proposed to take place over two growing seasons between November 2013 and December 2015. The GM wheat would be grown near Horsham, Victoria, on a maximum area of 2 hectares per season. The GM wheat would not be permitted in human food or animal feed.
The OGTR said a consultation Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) has been prepared, which concludes that “the proposed release would pose negligible risk to human health and safety or to the environment”. A range of draft licence condition would limit the size, location and duration of the release, as well as restrict the spread and persistence of the GMOs and the introduced genetic material, according to the OGTR.
The OGTR said it welcomed written submissions in order to finalise the RARMP, which will then form the basis of a decision on whether or not to issue the licence. The consultation RARMP and related documents can be obtained from the OGTR website under ‘What’s New’, or by contacting the Office.
Interested parties should quote DIR 122 in any correspondence.
Submissions should be received by close of business on 20 September 2013.