Threats posed by new forms of GMOs under development represent a fundamental challenge to New Zealand’s approach to biosecurity labelling requirements. A relatively new treaty that regulates the international trade in living GMOs, the Cartagena Protocol, has the potential to be a leading tool in checking the unintended flow of such GMOs across the border.

However, at the last meeting of the parties to the Protocol in May, New Zealand vetoed the development of rules that would oblige anyone sending food and animal feed to specify not just the intended content of shipments but the actual content, as it relates to living GMOs. New Zealand was one of just two countries – of 119 present – to object to proposals for requiring actual content of these shipments to be labelled. It was also the only one to question whether liability rules were required at all under the Protocol.

Read the report: Brave New Biosecurity