28 May 2009

Issue of licence DIR 092 to CSIRO for a limited and controlled release of GM wheat

The Gene Technology Regulator has made a decision to issue a licence in respect of application DIR 092 from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The applicant has received approval for the limited and controlled release of 16 wheat lines genetically modified for altered grain composition. The release is expected to take place at one site in the ACT on a maximum area of 1 ha between July 2009 and June 2012. None of the GM wheat plants will be permitted to enter the commercial human food or animal feed supply chain. However, some products made from the GM wheat may be fed to rats and pigs in controlled laboratory experiments.

The decision to issue the licence was made after extensive consultation on the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) with the public, State and Territory governments, Australian Government agencies, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee, as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000 and corresponding State and Territory laws.

Issues relating to the health and safety of people and the protection of the environment raised during the consultation process on this application were considered in finalising the RARMP and in making the decision to issue the licence.

The Executive Summary, Technical Summary and complete finalised RARMP, together with a set of Questions and Answers on this decision and a copy of the licence, can be obtained on-line from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator’s website or by contacting the office.