Onions not so green

A genetically modified onion trial will go ahead in NZ after gaining approval from the Environmental Risk Management Authority.

The approval allows a field trial of genetically modified (GM) allium — the onion and garlic family.

Environmentalist groups say the trials will taint the country’s ‘green and clean’ image.

A proposal for the 10 year trial was put to the ERMA by Crop & Food Research in April (now a part of new body Plant and Food Research), and called for a field test including flowering and seeding of GM onions.

Conditions imposed on the test include ‘pollen cages’ — insect-proof cages around the GM crops ensuring standard allium plants are not cross-pollinated.

The test will include onions, spring onions, leeks and garlic.

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