The government of New Zealand has accepted recommendations on organic agriculture submitted by a committee of MPs after a twelve-month inquiry and 122 submissions.

The recommendations call for minimum organic product standards that would, among other issues, not permit any contamination from genetically engineered material. Coming just a day after the release of the Royal Commission report that broadly supported further research in GM, the government’s acceptance of the organics recommendations may go some way to allaying fears among organic growers that their industry is under threat.

Much of the debate prompted by the Commission report centres on whether GM agriculture and organic agriculture can, with adequate safeguards, exist side by side. Green agriculture spokesman Ian Ewen-Street believes not: “It is perfectly clear when you look at what decent organic standards actually say that genetic engineering is a huge threat to organic agriculture and that, contrary to the Royal Commission’s views, the two systems cannot co-exist.”