Despite popular protest, New Zealand’s two-year moratorium on genetically modified crop trials has been lifted.

The ban was imposed in 2001 to allow time for further research into the impact of GM crops on the environment. Strict new legislation has been put in place to ensures that the release of GM crops is undertaken in a controlled manner.

Nevertheless, protest has come from many quarters, with food groups concerned that relaxing the moratorium might compromise New Zealand’s reputation for high quality, green produce and jeopardise its standing in the international food market.

The first application expected to be submitted to the Environment Risk Management Authority, which is responsible for making decisions on GM, concerns a GM onion crop.