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GM Wheat Field Trial Approvals

12 July 2011

AUSTRALIA - All dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are regulated under the Gene Technology Act 2000 and intentional release of a GMO into the Australian environment must be licensed by the Gene Technology Regulator.

The Australian regulatory scheme uses a science-based approach and robust risk analysis. The risk analysis methodology is based on key international standards and is widely respected nationally and internationally as representing best practice.

GM wheat

Since 2005, the Regulator has approved eleven small GM wheat field trials, and only after conducting a rigorous science-based risk assessment and extensive public and expert consultation for each, ten of which are still current.

These field trials relate to early stage research on GM wheat with traits such as salt tolerance, drought tolerance, altered starch content or improved nutrient use efficiency, and are being conducted by the CSIRO, the University of Adelaide and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

Each trial is limited in size and duration, ranging in size from 0.1 to 2 hectares per year for up to 5 years. Details of field trial locations are publically available on the OGTR website4. GM wheat from these trials is not permitted to enter the commercial human or animal food supplies.

The field trials are subject to strict containment conditions to minimise the potential spread and persistence in the environment. The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator actively inspects trials for compliance with licence conditions.


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