PO Box 13402
Wellington, New Zealand

GE-Free New Zealand

in food and environment (RAGE Inc.)



EPA(NZ) Decision Keeps GE in the Lab with Few Safety Controls on GMO Product.

Milk copy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a large-scale fermentation laboratory for production of synthetic genetically engineered (GE) milk proteins."The EPA approval to Daisy Lab was done under "fast track" and only took 10 days to evaluate with no public notification. [1] There was no community or stakeholder consultation.  

"This is an example of what the proposed Fast Track Bill has for democracy, where public participation in decisions will be eliminated” said Claire Bleakley, GE-free NZ president

Daisy Lab has said it is for “disrupting high intensity dairying and reducing emissions” [2], but the protections are weak, and other risks from the Daisy Lab experiments are not addressed in the EPA decision.[3]

The contained laboratory is a PC1 security laboratory.  The staff will be trained in using the chemicals that are hazardous and  where human error could be catastrophic to workers. 

Daisy Lab states they will use standard growth or food-waste media to culture and grow the Genetically Engineered cells.   The standard growth media consists of digested animal tissue (peptones) [4], Yeast extract and dextrose.[5]   The food-waste media is sourced from pork or animal bones and other vegetables. 

There has been no evaluation of the growth media in the final product or how it will be disposed of.  Bacteria are difficult to kill, they mutate easily and many fermenters media has had to be discarded due to contamination. The EPA does not included any disposal conditions in controls.  The bacteria actually produce carbon dioxide in their growth how is that going to be mitigated?

The high cost of the fermenters, danger to workers, and undeclared culture media far outweighs the grass-fed natural milks that New Zealand is noted for.  The end product is neither vegetarian nor vegan.  

“The EPA has been negligent in their risk assessment.  They have not required monitoring of the facility, annual reports on the process or require food safety trials on the purity and safety of the product for human consumption or any labelling of the product,” Bleakley said. “They did not assess the culture media and the possibility of bacterial transfer fragments or specify the bacterial waste disposal conditions”

The EPA has not specified if these novel GE derived proteins need safety trials on the purity and allergenicity of the product for human consumption or any labelling of the product. These should normally be given by Food Standards Australia NZ (FSANZ) and are required for sale but not given for this experimentation as far as we know. 

"The experiment to scale up production could increase risks of impurities and contaminants that must be tested for and prevented or cause potentially serious problems. “The sustainability spin is really an ownership patent grab” said Bleakley, “We have many natural alternative milks made from plants that are suitable for dairy intolerant and vegan, vegetarian consumers.” said Bleakley.

“However, the solution is not to make synthetic laboratory foods in another industrial production model but to focus on organic regenerative non-chemical, GE free food systems”


[1] APP204652 https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/FileAPI/hsno-ar/APP204652/APP204652-Application.pdf

[2] https://www.daisylab.co.nz/about-1  

[3] https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/FileAPI/hsno-ar/APP204652/APP204652-Application-Appendix-4-Preliminary-Risk-Assessment.pdf

[4] https://exodocientifica.com.br/_technical-data/M1363.pdf

[5] https://en.angelyeast.com/blog/microbial-nutrition/essential-knowledge-for-fermentation-industry-what-is-peptone.html  

[6] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10408398.2023.2166014

ENDS Jon Carapiet - spokesman - 0210507681;

         Claire Bleakley - president 027 348 6731;