Greenpeace claimed that the Department of Agriculture’s approval of open-air field trials of genetically modified papaya was unlawful and caused spread and contamination of genetically modified substances. The organisation further claimed that the Director-General of the Department fail to undertake sufficient measures to control the spread of such contamination.
The Court determined that the Department had a mandate to undertake agricultural research and development and therefore had the authority to approve genetically modified papaya trials. However, the Court found that the Department neglected its duty required by law to control the spread and contamination of genetically modified substances, the factual occurance of which the Dapartment must be responsible in accordance with the principle of strict liabilty. The Court nevertheless found that the measures undertaken by the Department and its Director-General to investigate and eliminate such contamination and cease all experiment were sufficient response measures required by law. The Court therefore uphold the Administrative Court’s decision to dismiss the case.