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Chronologically listed items on this page in descending order

Government Push Polls on GM crops and foods

Mothers rally against "GM" milk

GM Content a threat to market: farmer

CSIRO 'dumps' anti-GM expert


Farmers critical of scientist

Control of volunteer cotton key to CBT disease fight back

New GM food study reveals safety fears

Concerns that FSANZ is compromising food safety


GM-food ingredient label laws for review

South Australian Govt extends genetically modified crop ban

Call for Federal Government to reject GM cotton in northern Australia at campaign launch

Australian State Ag minister slams Fed GM call


South Australian Govt defends planned GM crop ban extension

WA Parliament votes down commercial GM trials

Genetically modified crops will cost

Private agribusiness conference, public funding

GM-free intentions defended

$851,890 Government handout to GM companies

Gene Technology Act Review: a failed report

Watchdog fails on GM food

Democrats will maintain GM ban

Australian Government backs Terminator technology


NGOs hit out at Australia, Canada and New Zealand for opening the door to GM Terminator Technology


GM-canola in lab tests

WA to fund independent health testing on GM foods

Of allergic mice and men

More on the sickly pea

GM crop scrapped as mice made ill

Economic wellbeing of farmers being ignored

Ban trials until Bayer Cropscience pays for damages


Chance wants quarantine laws tightened

Ag Ministers bow to biotech bandits

Ag Ministers must act on GE contamination - Japanese consumers add voice

Canola industry urged to clarify GM issue

First Australian farmer falls prey to GE contamination

Higher costs, lower yields and market loss does not equate to a benefit to farmers

NSW GM crop ban welcomed

Monsanto's GM contamination found in Australia

Remove your unwanted genes Bayer Cropscience

Govt pressured to identify GM-tainted canola

GCA seeking legal action on GM slur

WA seeks national GM liability laws

Orange council takes stand against GM crops

Asian flour mills unlikely to take GM


GM Canola Contamination In Oz Export Shipment

Farmers ask why GM crops perform worse in drought

Western Australia GM crops moratorium to remain

GM crop trials worry Democrats

The Case for Strict Liability

Poultry giants quail at gene food protests - By Kirsty Needham, Consumer Reporter - Sidney Morning Herald, February 11, 2005

Monsanto suspends GM canola programs - 12th May , 2004 - Sydney Morning Herald

Australian States Reject GM Food Production

Australian farmers fear future without GM food ban - The Guardian, Friday June 20, 2003.

Sydney, Australia, Thursday 8th May 2003: Australia will remain free from genetically engineered (GE) food crops for at least another year

Victoria May Ban GM Food Crops for 12 Months - Melbourne - May 7 2003

Government Push Polls on GM crops and foods - Gene Ethics Media Release, July 23 2007
"The Australian government push-polled Australians on genetically manipulated (GM) crops and foods to dishonestly inflate support for GM in its latest survey," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps. "It was unethical to falsely imply in the questionnaire that GM has solutions to key environmental problems when they do not exist now and are ten years from commercial reality, if ever," he says. "Most citizens support genuine solutions to air and water pollution, climate change and salinity on farms, but GM food crops are not the answer to these problems and probably never will be," he says. "Gene Ethics saw the draft questionnaire but Biotechnology Australia rejected our proposal that people be asked their opinions on the costs, risks and hazards of GM foods and crops, as well as their claimed benefits," he said, "Biotech Australia again showed itself to be a government-funded pro-GM lobbyist that promotes the interests of foreign GM giants ahead of Australian farmers and shoppers," he says. "Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane's comments were also designed to mislead the public by cherry-picking the survey results and ignoring their inconvenient truths," Mr Phelps says. "For instance, the Minister ignored Figure 25 on 'willingness to eat GM foods' that shows an average rating of 8.2 out of 10 for organic foods and 6.1 for non-organic," he says. "Food containing preservatives rated 5.2, with GM foods lower, depending on the kind of genetic manipulation involved," he says. "Food from GM crops was 5.1 and meat from cloned animals was last, at 3.6," he says. "Shifts in public acceptance of GM foods were the result of revised wording from the last survey two years ago," he says. "It's undemocratic and unfair to mould public opinion using biased surveys to justify GM policies that are nothing short of mad," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 or 0408 195 099
Minister's statement at:
Reports at:

Mothers rally against "GM" milk - Breaking Rural News : DAIRY - North Queensland Register, 19 June 2007
(SOURCE: Extract from full story in Stock & Land, Vic, June 21) -
Mothers and children will rally outstide the United Dairyfarmers of Victora (UDV) conference in Melbourne on Tuesday to voice their opposition to milk produced from cows fed genetically modified (GM) grain. Mothers Against GE (MAdGE) spokeswoman, Glenda Lindsay, said the group - a newly formed coalition of anti-GM mothers, grandmothers and children - wanted to show farmers, Victorian consumers didn?t want genetically engineered (GE) or GM milk.
"We want to feed our families food guaranteed to be safe, local and GM free," Ms Lindsay said. "There are no peer reviewed studies that prove it is safe to drink milk from cows fed GM products." Ms Lindsay said the group wanted the ban on GM canola in Victoria to be extended permanently. "It makes no sense to grow GM crops when most polls show shoppers don't want GM foods," she said.
UDV members will today vote on a resolution for the UDV to reverse its anti-GM position and support choice of GM technology in the dairy industry,"

GM Content a threat to market: farmer - ALEX JOHNSON - The Standard, June 7 2007
A CONCERNED farmer said the future of Australia's dairy industry depended on whether farmers rejected genetically modified cattle feed. The Network of Concerned Farmers spokesman Geoffrey Carracher, who runs an irrigation property near Minimay growing white clover seed, called on dairy farmers not to use GM cotton to feed their cattle. The network is funded by a number of farmers and local councils, including West Wimmera Shire.
"The world is our market for Australia at the moment," Mr Carracher said. "With the introduction of GMs into Australia, our opportunities throughout the world will be reduced.....New Zealand will pick up our milk market if we do it." "There has been no testing of GM crops against non-GM crops so we don't know what their comparisons are, their yields (or) their agronomy." He said the crops, modified to be resistant to pests and diseases, might not bring the benefits some farmers expect. "They're set up for corporate profits, not farmers' profits."

GM MILK ANGER - TERRY SIM - The Standard, June 7 2007 -
MILK is being produced on south-west Victorian dairy farms using genetically modified feeds without the public's knowledge. Now consumers are demanding to know more. The Standard can reveal that a range of feeds with a GM content have been used on the region's farms. Feeds with GM content include cottonseed meal, soybean and canola meal. Consumers are concerned about the impact on milk and a lack of clear labelling. Studies found no impact on foods generated from GM-fed livestock or GM crops. Member for Western Province John Vogels said dairy factories should admit "the GM genie is long gone". Mr Vogels said it was time to scrap Victoria's moratorium on GM crops and ensure proper risk assessments were in place. He said south-west dairy farmers were using GM cottonseed to produce milk and other farmers were using GM canola and soymeal in cattle rations. "If 90 per cent of cotton grown is GM and I've seen farmers feeding cottonseed to their dairy cows, then the (GM) genie is long out of the bottle," Mr Vogels said. Mr Vogels' comments come as the Network of Concerned Farmers starts a media campaign against feeding genetically modified crops in animals' feed.
Anti-GM campaigner and director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research Dr Judy Carman said it was a `"big leap in logic to open up the doors" because farmers were already feeding GM feed to their cattle. "If it was widely known that there was a milk company in Australia that was getting milk from cows being fed GM feeds I think you would find consumers would switch brands......There would be some concern - it is just that they (consumers) don't know." Dr Carman said there had been no long-term testing on livestock fed GM feeds, consumers eating GM foods or meat grown with GM feeds. There was inadequate crop segregation, product labelling and knowledge of contamination levels to protect consumers'
interests and cottonseed oil did not have to be labelled as a GM product in Australia, she said.
Anti-GM dairy farmer in Dixie, Andrea Balcombe, has decided not to give potentially GM feeds to her cows. She said labelling laws meant consumers were not able to choose non-GM over GM products. Mr Vogels said despite the "scare campaign" of the organics industry and anti-GM protesters, he did not believe consumers should be concerned about feeding GM feed to livestock. Research had shown there were no ill effects from people consuming GM foods, he said. The "hypocrisy" of the State Government's moratorium on commercial GM crops was exposed by the use of cottonseed oil in vegetable oil formulations for cooking, Mr Vogels said. About a third of vegetable oil is made from cottonseed, he said.
A spokesperson for Victorian Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said industry sectors could take their own steps to prevent farmers using GM feedstocks. "That a small amount of GM feedstocks are used for stock has relatively little bearing on the forthcoming review of the moratorium on GM canola," the minister's spokesperson said.

CSIRO 'dumps' anti-GM expert - William Birnbauer - The Age, May 27 2007
ONE of Australia's leading specialists on biological farming says he was dumped by the CSIRO because of his criticism of genetically modified crops. Dr Maarten Stapper, a principal research scientist, worked for CSIRO for 23 years and is an expert on soil health which, he says, is the key to better crops. He told The Sunday Age that senior CSIRO management bullied and harassed him and tried to gag his criticisms of GM crops. He left in March after his position with CSIRO's plant industry division was made redundant. "I could have continued working for the CSIRO but I would have to give up all my beliefs about good agriculture and keep my mouth shut about GM," he said. "I didn't want that because I have a connection with the farming community and they trust me."
Dr Stapper said experience as a farming systems agronomist had taught him that most problems started with the soil, and that was where the solutions were. "GM solutions won't solve our problems," he said. CSIRO disputed several assertions made by Dr Stapper, who has become something of a martyr among anti-GM groups since leaving the research organisation. The assistant chief of plant industry, Dr Mark Peoples, said Dr Stapper's redundancy had nothing to do with his views on genetic engineering. A project on the management of irrigated wheat he had worked on was now finished.
Dr Peoples said a mediator was used in 2004 to resolve a dispute between Dr Stapper and the then head of the plant industry division, Dr Jim Peacock, who is now Australia's chief scientist. "I guess it still preyed on Maarten's mind but it went through the due mediation process." Dr Peoples also denied that CSIRO's research was being hijacked by pro-GM groups. About $7 million, less than 1 per cent of the total budget, was spent on GM crops, compared with $45 million on sustainable agriculture. Co-investment with private corporations on GM crop research equalled about 0.2 per cent of CSIRO's total budget.
But Biological Farmers of Australia and the Gene Ethics group say Dr Stapper's dismissal is outrageous as his research is critical to the organic sector and to thousands of farmers developing better soil biology. "This travesty of justice shows again that priorities for taxpayer-funded research are grossly distorted by CSIRO contracts with companies that direct public funds to private profits," the director of Gene Ethics, Bob Phelps, said. "Stapper was sacked because GM giants like Bayer and Monsanto can't patent know-how on healthier soils." Scott Kinnear from Biological Farmers said: "We have for many years been concerned at the commercialisation of research within CSIRO whereby patentable technologies with income-generation potential are favoured. This applies to their research into genetically engineered foods which has cost CSIRO many tens of millions of dollars for no commercial food product to show."
Dr Stapper said he was sceptical about claims that GM plants improved crop yields and called for more studies on the safety of GM stockfeeds. "We can learn to use the power of nature rather than fighting it with synthetic chemicals and unproven new technologies in a war we can't win," Dr Stapper said.

VIC GM REVIEW PANEL: NO INDEPENDENCE OR EXPERTISE - Gene Ethics - News Media Release - Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Premier Bracks today announced a panel to review the ban on GM canola in Victoria [Australia]. "The panel announced today to review Victoria's ban on commercial genetically manipulated (GM) canola is neither independent nor expert," says Gene Ethics Director Bob Phelps. "The panellists are keen supporters of GM crops and foods who have promoted it for many years," he says. "And none are expert in trade or marketing issues, the main focus of the review," he says. "The panel has no expert capacity or experience to consider the impact of commercial GM canola release on producers and exporters," he says. "Their expertise and experience is in science, agriculture and rural and regional development issues - all outside the trade and marketing focus of the review," he says "The Bracks government has set up a panel to recommend fast tracking GM crops into our environment and onto our plates," he says. "They set the scene to end the GM canola ban over the objections of most Victorian farmers and shoppers, the vast majority of whom want GM-free foods on the farm, in the shops and on the dinner table," he says.
"An end to the Victorian ban would also upstage the bans in four other states and the ACT as GM canola contamination will be no respecter of state boundaries. GM-free Australia and the benefits that can bring would be finished," he says. "We call for a panel that fairly reflects the breadth of public views on GM and has real expertise in the topic, to redress the pro-GM bias of the group announced today," he says. "Panel chairperson Gus Nossal is a retired medical researcher who publicly advocates GM food and crops, and has done so for many years," Mr Phelps says. "Panel member Merna Curnow is from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) which spends at least $100,000 a year to promote acceptance of GM," he says. "Merna was also an officer of the Victorian Farmers Federation when it actively campaigned against the GM bans," he says.
"As the ban is almost five years old, we also call for a review of new evidence on health and environment impacts of GM crops and foods since the licences were issued.," he says "Victoria's strong record on clean green GM-free foods will be in tatters if the GM canola ban ends," he says. "A new ban order should be signed to extend the ban till 2013, at least," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 or 0408 195 099

Farmers critical of scientist - Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF)
In response to the pro-GM statements made by Australian Academy of Science president, Dr Jim Peacock during a televised address at the Press club, the Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) are asking farmers not to trust scientists that have a vested interest. "It is rubbish to say that GM crops are going to feed the world when non-GM varieties appear to be yielding more," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers....Over 90% of the worlds crop is non-GM despite the huge push for these patented GM crops over the last decade. The truth is being modified more than the genetics and farmers aren't gullible enough to be conned for long." "The last people farmers should be listening to for direction and advise is the scientists and industry players that have a vested interest in this patented product. We need to listen to our marketers who clearly state the advantage of being GM-free."
The NCF claim Mr Peacock should have revealed the financial ties that scientific sectors such as CSIRO have with companies such as Monsanto. Mr Peacock stated in his address the science sector had failed to win public support for transgenic crops. Mrs Newman explained that a major reason for failing to gain support from farmers is because the reluctant public buy farmers products, the sums don't add up to a profit and the costs are too high on those that do not want to adopt GM crops. "Farmers need to be aware that the real yields fall well short of what has been promised and this has been proven by independent trials. We should be very suspicious that further independent trials have been rejected by the GM companies until there is an unhindered clear pathway for commercialisation. It is obvious they don't want us to know the truth until it is to late to salvage our GM-free status."
The NCF claim there is some support for GM but it is based on farmers being frightened of the future and want to urge farmers to base decisions on facts, not unsubstantiated claims. The NCF believe that GM may soon be an outdated technology superseded by better non-GM biotechnology advances. Mrs Newman gave an example of non-GM biotechnology techniques capable of short-cutting the breeding processes by crossing arctic grasses with cereal crops for frost tolerance. The NCF believe that because scientists will financially benefit more from GM technology, they are reluctant to explain these better non-GM alternatives.
"If GM is released commercially, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to market as GM-free so we need to listen very carefully to our markets. It is clear that market rejection is worsening and we need to be extremely cautious to ensure we have risk management to prevent non-GM farmers being affected." Mrs Newman explained that consumers prefer a non-GM product and non-GM farmers were expected to be liable for testing costs, duplicate storage and handling and trying to keep GM out of their product. If segregation failed, non-GM farmers were to be liable for the cost difference if the product is downgraded to GM or for economic loss experienced if the product can not be sold. The NCF believe it will not be possible to control contamination to satisfy market and legal demands. "Those pushing GM crops must realise that non-GM farmers will not accept any contamination if we are expected to be liable for the economic loss caused by it," insisted Mrs Newman. "A strict liability regime is essential to ensure the polluter pays, not the polluted."

Control of volunteer cotton key to CBT disease fight back - Australia
SOURCE: Cotton Catchment Communities CRC and Queensland Country Life weekly rural news service, updated daily by FarmOnline. - 10 April 2007
The rising incidence of cotton bunchy top (CBT) disease is causing concern. Control of volunteer cotton, by cultivation or herbicides, is central to the fight back, a R&D field has been told. In central Queensland, it has been found that CBT is increasing and is most obvious in fields where Roundup Ready cotton had been planted, the field day was told. The concerns over CBT were espressed at a Cotton Catchment Communities (CRC) research and development field day. While we don't know yet whether CBT is increasing on the Darling Downs, we can take some preventative action to control volunteer cotton, the field day was told.
The CRC reports that volunteer cotton can cause problems for resistance management of Bt cotton, reduce seed purity and act as early hosts for insect pest. It also provides a conduit for carry over of harmful plant pathogens into the next season. Volunteer cotton can be controlled by cultivation or herbicides. In the past, the broad spectrum herbicide glyphosate was commonly used to control volunteer cotton seedlings but this is not effective on Roundup Ready cotton. Herbicide options to control seedling cotton include Spray.Seed and Hammer. These herbicides are also effective on Roundup ready seedlings.
The control of established cotton is far more difficult with herbicides but experimental data has shown good results after two applications of glyphosate + 2,4 D amine or Starane. Note, however, that these options are not registered and involve two applications which can make it costly compared to the costs of mechanical control. Ratoon cotton can only be controlled by mechanical means as no effective herbicides have been identified.

New GM food study reveals safety fears - Government of Western Australia media statement, 21 March 07
Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance today said a recent French university study that had revealed the potential harm of GM food was further support for Western Australia's moratorium on the commercial production of GM crops. Mr Chance pointed to an independent study conducted by French researchers and scientists from the universities of Caen and Rouen, which found that rats fed on Monsanto's MON863 genetically modified corn had significant reductions in growth and adverse effects on liver and kidney function after 90 days of consumption. The Minister said the GM corn under scrutiny was not grown in Australia, however Australian people may have consumed the product through imported foods such as corn chips, tacos and products made with corn meal and corn syrup. "Until we know more about GM crops, especially GM food crops, I believe it is a wise move to continue with the moratorium," he said. "We want to take some time to understand the effect of GM crops and leave our options open. Advocates for adopting the technology now perhaps do not realise it, but by doing so we would close those options. This is because GM technology is effectively irreversible."
Mr Chance urged Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) to undertake thorough testing of the GM corn, and other GM products themselves, before they are approved. "FSANZ should stop relying on the data supplied from the GM companies and conduct their own independent feeding trials and stringent analysis of the GM products that are proposed for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand," he said. "The lack of independent data is the reason why the WA Government has funded its own independent long-term animal feeding trial to gain data on the safety or otherwise of GM food crops." The Minister said the State Government was in the process of working through the full range of issues associated with GM technology with industry through the GMO Industry Reference Group.
The State Government's moratorium on GM crops runs for the term of Government and will, as with all government policies, be reviewed. "The moratorium on GM crops supports the State's 'clean and green' status and will look after the lifestyle of our farming communities by protecting our overseas markets and environment," Mr Chance said. "It will also ensure that WA consumers continue to have a choice about the food they wish to eat."
Media contact: Alicia Miriklis - 9213 6700 or 0428 911 240
Statements available on the Government's regional website: and you can also subscribe to have media releases emailed automatically from the Government's website:

Concerns that FSANZ is compromising food safety - 09 Feb 2007
The recommendation from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to approve a genetically engineered High-Lysine Corn LY038 for animal and human use, is a warning sign that the Authority is inappropriately influenced by trade-related issues and the interests of overseas businesses like Monsanto's. This decision comes just weeks after New Zealand officials declared they want to adopt the same loose policies for cloned animal products that have been proposed in the US by the FDA. Like their US counterparts the NZFSA intends no testing, monitoring or labelling of products from clones because differences are expected to be minimal and products "substantially equivalent."
But such a policy on cloned food ignores the fact that small differences can have significant impacts. "Substantial equivalence is closer to bureaucratic spin than sound science", says Jon Carapiet from GE free NZ in food and environment. "On this basis animals with mad cow disease could be deemed fine to eat because they only have a small difference in the shape of one protein: prions."
Though the FSANZ admit LY038 is different, once again there seems to be unacceptable and detrimental pressure from business to open up New Zealand's and Australia's food system to inadequately tested (and largely unwanted) products. LY038 is produced by seed giant Monsanto, and is genetically modified to contain levels of the amino acid lysine at substantially higher levels than found in other corn. The application for approval for human food is "just in case" it gets mixed in from animal feed by accident, as has already happened in the past.
FSANZ seem to have ignored warnings that when foods with high levels of lysine are cooked in combination with sugars, compounds called AGEs are produced which have been implicated in causing Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and other serious conditions. In a submision to FSANZ, The Centre for Research in Biosafety at Canterbury University identified different ways that animal feed could either inadvertently or deliberately end up being consumed by humans, and warned them of the possible effects.
GE Free NZ in food and environment support calls by the Green Party for a Ministerial veto of the decision, and want new protocols on food testing to be developed and introduced before any further approvals are made for 'novel foods'. The Centre for Research in Biosafety reports in its submission that the testing procedure for this corn deviated from the recommendations of international food safety bodies, including the World Health Organisation. "This is unacceptable. We need the best standards, not the ones that best suit business or overseas investors," says Mr Carapiet. Consumers are being exposed to unwanted and unnecessary risks because officials meant to protect them have a wider agenda than providing genuine choice and safety.The bias to meeting the interests of industry and agri-business risks compromising the integrity off the food chain.
Copyright Scoop

Industry's annual review of genetically manipulated (GM) crops shows they stalled a long time ago. An International Service for Acquisition of Agro-biotechnology Applications report was published today. ( "ISAAA makes unsupported claims, inflates its figures and ignores the negative impacts of GM crops," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps. "For instance, Iran is again wrongly listed as growing 50,000 hectares of commercial GM rice, which is not approved and is not being grown," he says. "Romania is also listed as growing 100,000 hectares of GM soybean but this crop is now banned and the country is being decontaminated to return it to GM-free," he says. "ISAAA claims commercial GM crops are a global industry but their own figures show 99% grew in just eight countries last year - USA 53.5%; Argentina 17.6%; Brazil 11.3%; Canada 6%; India 3.7%; China 3.4%; Paraguay 2%; and South Africa 1.4%," he says. "The range of GM crops also stalled in 1996 when four broad-acre commercial crops - soy, corn, cotton and canola - were first grown. Not one has been added since," he says. "And these crops still have just two commercial GM traits - tolerance to being over-sprayed with weed killer and making their own insect toxins. Both add more chemicals to our environment and foods," Mr Phelps says. "Australian governments would be foolish to allow commercial GM canola into Australia because, even in this weak field, GM canola runs a distant last since 1999," he says.
"The report emphasizes that 10.3 million farmers grew GM crops in 2006, but this is just 0.7% of farmers world-wide. And just 600,000 farmers grew 85% of all GM crops on industrial farms in North and South America. Small third world farmers are misused as fodder in the ISAAA's PR war," he says. "GM technology has been overtaken by smarter, more precise and successful genetic science - genomics and proteomics - in tandem with traditional breeding,' he says. "The ISAAA is flogging a dead horse," he says. "Shoppers and farmers will ensure that genetically manipulated seeds, crops and foods are rejected around the world," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 (O) 03 9889 1717 (H) 0408 195 099 (Mob)

GM-food ingredient label laws for review - by Anne Calverley - The West Australian, 7th December 2006
The Federal Government plans to review food labelling laws amid fears that consumers are unwittingly eating genetically modified foods. Parliamentary secretary for health Christopher Pyne said yesterday he would follow up concerns raised by The West Australian this week that seemingly tough Federal laws demanding that food labels list all GM ingredients did not extend to highly refined products such as sugars and oils. State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance backed a change to the laws to take into account that some people would not buy food with any GM ingredients to discourage production of them.
The Office of Gene Technology Regulator does not require labels on refined food products because makers claim that GM ingredients are not evident in the final product. Shoppers have no way of knowing whether items such as baked goods and dairy products are made from GM products, which critics dub Frankenstein food. And consumer advocates say more GM-derived food will be imported because of the drought. GM canola from Canada recently landed on the east coast.
Mr Pyne said the GM labelling issue could be raised at the Food Ministers' Council next April. Mr Chance said he did not believe any changes would put any great cost on food makers. "It may be time to change the laws from an ethical point of view to address any resistance from the public to eating GMOs," he said. "I would rather not eat GM oil that has come from a GM commodity, not because I believe it's unsafe, but so as to not encourage the production of GM products."

South Australian Govt extends genetically modified crop ban - Sydney Morning Herald - Friday, November 17, 2006
The South Australian government has extended a ban on genetically modified (GM) food crops until the end of April, 2008. The ban, first imposed in 2004, was due to have ended in 2007. But Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen said the extra time would allow for a review of the current legislation. "The review will explore whether the conditions that resulted in the 2004 act are still valid or whether there are any alternatives to legislation to achieve the best outcomes," Mr McEwen said. The minister said the state government remained committed to protecting the state's clean and green reputation by preventing the introduction of GM crops until it was clear they could co-exist with conventional crops.
© 2006 AAP

Call for Federal Government to reject GM cotton in northern Australia at campaign launch
The Northern Australia Environment Alliance today launched a campaign calling on the Federal Government to reject applications to introduce Genetically Manipulated (GM) Cotton into Northern Australia. The launch coincides with the Australian National Committee for Irrigation and Drainage (ANCID) conference in Darwin, where GM cotton is a hot topic.
"The ANCID Conference claims to be: "the best opportunity for industry participants, policy makers and researchers to deliver their key messages of relevance to Australia" and so is the appropriate platform from which to warn policy makers and the public about the risks posed by GM crops in Northern Australia," said Cairns and Far North Environment Centre spokesperson Steve Ryan.
"Extensive land clearing, over consumption of water and excessive chemical use are by-products of this industry. We do not want to be the testing ground for risky new genetically manipulated cotton that could kill our wildlife, leave us with insecticide resistant insects, contaminate soil and water and create superweeds," said Maria Mann from Environs Kimberley.
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator recently gave approval for the commercial release of Liberty Link Cotton anywhere in Australia. The Regulator is now considering another application, this time from Monsanto, for the commercial release of Bollgard II/Roundup Ready Flex GM cotton into northern Australia.
"Any approvals will overturn a 2002 decision by the Regulator not to allow the commercial introduction of GM cotton north of 22ºS. This decision was made in view of weed threats posed to northern Australia by large scale irrigated agriculture based on GM cotton. It is our view that the risks remain and further approvals should not be given by the Regulator," said Larissa Cordner from The Wilderness Society.
As part of the campaign the Northern Australia Environment Alliance launched 'The Great Northern Cotton Takeover!', a brochure outlining the serious threat to northern Australia posed by the introduction of GM cotton. The brochure outlines the scope of the proposed agricultural developments and provides advice on how to take action to prevent it. The Briefing Paper Genetically Manipulated Cotton in Northern Australia was also released.
Media contacts: Maria Mann, Environs Kimberley: 0427 935052; James McLellan North Queensland Conservation Council: 0403 685308; Larissa Cordner, The Wilderness Society: 0433 681445; Peter Robertson, Environment Centre Northern Territory: 0409 089020; Bob Phelps, GeneEthics: 1300133 868.
Background Brief - Genetically Manipulated Cotton in Northern Australia - To assist the community, media, Indigenous and other groups to understand conservation opposition to the release of genetically manipulated cotton into northern Australia.

Australian State Ag minister slams Fed GM call - Friday, October 13, 2006 - The West Australian
The Federal Government’s call for all States to lift their moratorium on the growing of commercial GM crops has been labelled premature by the State Government, with Agriculture Minister Kim Chance defending the maintenance of the WA State moratorium. Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran called for the States to lift their moratoriums as part of a response to the drought that now encompasses most of the agricultueral regions of Australia. He said if Victoria and NSW moved to allow GM crops, the move could persuade other States to drop their opposition. The recommendation was one of the 35 adopted by the Government out of a total of 55 contained in a report on agriculture and food in Australia for the next generation. The review was prepared by a team led by NFF president Peter Corish. Mr McGauran argued overseas experience showed GM crops could offer cost efficiencies for producers as well as environmental benefits, and he described Tasmania and WA as the two States that had an outright ideological objection to GMO, while other State governments were softening their positions.
Mr Chance this week responded by saying there was mounting evidence from Canada, the world’s largest GM canola producer, of substantial payments to grain farmers to compensate for rising input costs and lower commodity prices. He said he had been surprised to hear Mr McGauran’s claim that overseas experience showed GM crops offered cost efficiencies. “The evidence from Canada suggests otherwise,” Mr Chance said. “Mr McGauran obviously has not read about the Canadian experience, and I would like to know which countries he believes are enjoying financial and environmental benefits for GM crops, particularly GM canola.” The Minister said that in 1998 the difference between Australian and Canadian canola prices was about $70 a tonne in favour of Canada. “However, by May 2006, Australian prices had exceeded Canadian prices by some $50 a tonne,” he said, quoting a Department of Agriculture and Food WA report. “I do not want to see a situation where our State and Federal governments have to spend millions of dollars to help our farmers because they cannot sell their GM crops. “I wonder if Mr McGauran has discussed the possibility of future farm subsidies with the Federal Treasurer.”
West Australian Newspapers Pty Ltd 2006

Victorian scientists have developed a new species of drought tolerant canola that could make up to 1.5 million hectares of drought prone farmland in Australia more productive and profitable, the Minister for Innovation, John Brumby, announced today. Mr Brumby said Department of Primary Industry (DPI) scientists, together with collaborative international partners, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool have used enhanced traditional breeding and molecular marker assisted selection to refine the yield and quality of juncea canola. Announcing the research as part of the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) 2006 currently being held in Melbourne, Mr Brumby said the scientific breakthrough had come at an opportune time for Australian primary producers. "The drought is hitting the Australian community very hard, but this development is another example of how Victoria's scientists are working with international scientists to provide biotechnology solutions to serious problems," Mr Brumby said.
Commercial arrangements are currently being finalised and seed plantings for the first two juncea canola cultivars bred for Australia are also underway, with a view to releasing commercial quality seed to farmers next year. The Minister for Agriculture, Bob Cameron, said recent trials of Brassica juncea across Australia equalled and in some cases exceeded standard Brassica napus canola yields by up to 30 per cent. "Juncea canola has more vigorous early growth, better drought and heat tolerance than conventional canola, and quality characteristics ideal for the current canola market," Mr Cameron said. "In dry areas such as the Mallee, juncea canola shows much better early vigour than traditional canola, which means it gets up and competes better with weeds......It is of course still susceptible in extreme dry like we are experiencing this season, but the product's durability in drought prone conditions should enable it to survive in regions receiving as little as 275mm of rainfall annually......Juncea canola offers growers rotational benefits in their current cereal rotations by allowing them to control grass weeds and cereal diseases and pests......DPI is currently continuing to trial juncea canola at a series of dryland sites across the Mallee, including Beulah, Birchip, Hopetoun, Walpeup, Ultima and across Australia in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia."

South Australian Govt defends planned GM crop ban extension - ABC, September 18 2006
The South Australian Government has defended its plan to extend a moratorium on growing genetically modified (GM) crops, saying it has benefits in the global market. A ban is in place until 2007, but the Government wants to extend it by a year to bring the state in line with the rest of the country.
The former head of the South Australian Farmer's Federation, John Lush, has called for the ban to be overturned. He says drought-resistant GM crops could save farmers millions of dollars. "We have the technology that we could increase the potential of that crop by about three-fold on a year like this and it would be a viable crop and we're not using that technology," he said.
Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen says being GM-free opens up markets. "We must not put markets at risk and that is very important, that Australia continue to build a clean green image," he said. "It might be the differentiation we need in a global market place, that gives us the extra returns. "There actually might be significant market benefits by being the odd one out."
Centre for Plant Functional Genomics plant geneticist Mark Tester says the ban makes no sense. "The Canadian farmers don't have any [problems] selling their GM crops," he said. "The US farmers have no problems exporting their GM crops and I think the Australian farmer is seeing that. "If there are markets out there to purchase GM crops ... we will be able to sell GM crops. There's a clear benefit."

WA Parliament votes down commercial GM trials - ABC News, September 14 2006 -
A WA Liberal Party proposal to allow commercial trials of genetically modified canola has been defeated in Parliament. The Opposition wants GM canola grown in a pilot program next year with a view to full commercial release. However, the Government does not support lifting the moratorium on GM crops, saying WA farmers are able to attract higher prices for their crops because international markets have reservations about genetically modified food.
The Nationals leader Brendon Grylls has told Parliament he cannot accept the argument that all GM crops should be banned so a few tonnes of canola can be sold at premium prices. "Ten per cent of the canola exported from Western Australia is sold into that market," he said. "We're not talking about enough to rule out GM cotton in the north, about the expansion of the oil feed industry into biofuels, and the other gains that could be made with frost-tolerant and salt-tolerant crops going into the future." Mr Grylls has called for the area around Esperance to be used as a natural biosphere in which GM crops are tested. "I think that you should make a biosphere around Esperance because Esperance is separated from the rest of the agricultural region," he said. "That way the rest of the state could get a clear indication of what GMO [genetically modified organisms] could do in that particular region, on a full size commercial scale, and then we'd actually be having a debate on what had actually happened, rather than what might happen."

Genetically modified crops will cost - James Norman and Louise Sales - Online Opinion (Australia's e-journal of social and political debate), 14 August 2006
One need only look through the conference overview for the Victorian Government funded Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference
(, which kicked off last week in Melbourne, to get a sense of the true agenda driving the pro-GE lobby talk-fest. Aside from the predictable workshops on the commercialisation of GE (genetic engineering or modification) technologies and the translation of scientific advances into commercial application and using genes to 'improve' food crops - one of the last workshops was titled 'Communications in Ag Bio - How do we get the right message out?' The workshop covered the fraught territory of how to positively spin GE food to an increasingly sceptical public. The irony being that at over $500 a ticket to gain entry to the conference, ordinary members of the public were denied the opportunity to have any input.
Public attitudes to genetically engineered food are now universally negative, reflected in the fact that key markets in the EU, Japan and China are now removing GE products from consumer products, meaning organic and non-GE products are attracting increasing premiums. For example, the Weekly Times last week reported that Australian canola is selling at a premium of $65 a tonne because of its GE-free status. Simultaneously, in countries that have embraced GE crops such as the US, Canada and Argentina, existing markets have been seriously damaged.
Currently non-GE farmers are forced to bear the majority of costs and risks associated with the introduction of GE crops. The Australian Bureau of Resource Economics (ABARE) has estimated that segregation costs associated with the introduction of GE canola would cost non-GE farmers 5-15 per cent of the farm gate value of their crop. That's why the farming community is increasingly speaking out against embracing GE. In a scenario of GE being accepted by Australia's agricultural sector; non-GE farmers would also be forced to bear the inevitable contamination costs. A recent West Australian Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs inquiry into GE formed the view that 'contamination of non-GM crops by GM crops is inevitable, segregation is not practical and that identity preservation can be achieved, but at a significant cost'.
The GE industry has argued that contamination at levels of up to 1 per cent should be considered an appropriate standard for Australia. This level of contamination may be acceptable to the GE industry but it remains unacceptable to the vast majority of Australian consumers who don't trust GE food for consumption. The WA Standing Committee further recommended, 'The non-GM market should not be sacrificed at the expense of the GM market'. Subsequently, the WA wheat board has noted: 'the introduction of GM wheat in Australia could jeopardise many of our existing export markets.'
In North America, there is a strong movement against GE crop expansion due to concerns about its negative economic impacts. Referring to an incident when a GE maize crop engineered to produce a pharmaceutical product contaminated soybean crops the following year, a spokesperson for Grocery Manufacturers of America said, 'Incidents like these can have ripple effects. We don't want to lose international markets because we can't assure the safety and integrity of food supply.'
Even putting the dangers and costs associated with cross-contamination aside, the economics of embracing GE in Australia still don't add up. The WA Standing Committee acknowledged the 'unpredictable nature of world commodity markets' thus concluding that, 'there exists no certainty in the market acceptability of GM foods, with consumer attitudes being both varied and unstable on the issue.' And that was putting it mildly. A plethora of other Australian public attitude surveys have reached similar conclusions. A recent Australian study, from the Australian Centre for Emerging Technologies and Society at Swinburne University in Melbourne found that 'Australians are very uncomfortable with genetically modified plants for food'. And a 2002 Taylor Nelson Sofres poll found that the majority of Australians (68 per cent) are less likely to buy or will actively seek to avoid GE food. Indeed, consumer resistance to GE crops remains the strongest argument against its introduction. To date, Japan, China and the EU have instituted strict rules regarding the import and labelling of GE products, reflecting strong resistance to GE in those regions. Canada has already paid dearly for embracing GE in its canola industry. Canada currently produces 97 per cent of the world's canola, yet in 1998 (two years after it switched to GE crops) Canada lost its US$300-400 million annual canola sales to Europe because of European consumer resistance to GE.
If Australian farmers were to embrace GE canola, they would risk losing their export markets to Japan, China and the EU. Between 2001 and 2004 these markets collectively accounted for 65 per cent of our canola exports with a combined market value of A$829 million. It is little wonder then that the focus of the ABIC Conference is on looking at ways to convince a sceptical public to embrace GE in Australia. But the question that taxpayers might be asking is why is the Victorian Government funded a pro-GE conference when the economics and risks associated with GE just don't add up.

Private agribusiness conference, public funding - GeneEthics Network - Media Advisory - August 3 2006
Victorian taxpayers are the top sponsors and funders of the private agricultural gene technology conference (ABIC2006) in Melbourne 6-9 August. Bracks Government funding of private GM projects is undermining the state's moratorium on genetically manipulated (GM) crops. "Premier Bracks is pushing through his government's expensive pro-GM agenda without the consent of Victorian taxpayers," says Bob Phelps, Executive Director of GeneEthics Network. "The interested public was denied any role in planning or running the ABIC2006 conference, designed to promote the views of GM companies," he says. "Citizens with genuine concerns about GM are effectively excluded from the conference by the $500 a day attendance fee, while the promoters of gene technology will all be there - government officials, GM researchers, representatives of GM companies, and the PR companies," he says. "Yet this conference will undermine Australia's reputation as a GM-free food supplier and risk our favoured access to overseas markets," he says.
Richard Koch of Profarmer newsletter reports that, "Where Australia has been benefiting is that our rapeseed (canola) is GM-free - free of genetically modified organisms - so we have been the preferred supplier into that EU market for the past 18 months or so," enabling a major price recovery for canola.
"People world-wide want clean, green GM-free food, as shown by the annual rise of 20% in demand for organic foods," Mr Phelps says. "There is no demand for GM foods here or overseas so most farmers don't want to grow them, despite enormous pressure from the GM industry," he says. "A Swinburne University National Survey* of public opinion just published shows only 30% of Australians accept GM food crops and just 18% would accept GM animals," he says.
Media conference and GM-free Fiesta - Monday August 7 at 1 pm, Batman Park, opp. Melbourne Convention Centre, venue for ABIC2006. A celebration of GM-free and organic food, street theatre, speeches, displays and music. Show ABIC2006 that Victorians want a GM-free future.
More comment: Bob Phelps 1300 133 868, 0408 195 099
* Australians still wary about GM food - ABC, 30 June 2006

GM-free intentions defended - The Mercury, 29 June 06 -,5936,19622882%255E3462,00.html
TASMANIA must maintain its freedom from genetically modified technology or risk valuable agricultural exports, the Primary Industry Minister has told a Budget estimates hearing. Rowallan MLC Greg Hall asked Minister David Llewellyn whether the state was considering a policy of coexistence between genetically modified and traditional crops, as part of a national review of GM technology. Mr Llewellyn said he could not support coexistence as it had major ramifications for Tasmania. "We are positioning Tasmania as GM-free and we don't want to fall in with those who would target less-than discerning buyers," Mr Llewellyn said this week. "There is a push at a national level to move the issue on by saying coexistence policies should be adopted by each state. I don't believe it's a viable alternative. I don't want us to lose our competitive advantage." Mr Llewellyn said the managing director of a major Japanese importer of Tasmanian products said if the state moved down the GM line, it would cut its ties with the state. Mr Hall said the potential for losses to Tasmania from the moratorium on genetically modified organisms had to be fully assessed by Mr Llewellyn. "I urge the Minister to keep an open mind on GMOs and put Tasmania's future prosperity above politics in the lead-up to making a decision when the moratorium expires," he said. But Mr Llewellyn said there was nothing stopping research, it was the application in the environment that the Government was concerned about.

$851,890 Government handout to GM companies - Media release, GeneEthics Network, May 1, 2006
Commonwealth Government grants of $851,890 for gene technology studies, announced last Friday by Agriculture Minister McGauran, are designed to justify the fast tracking of genetically manipulated (GM) crops and foods into Australia. The money is from the $3.8 million Biotechnology Strategy for Agriculture, Food and Fibre, part of the National Biotechnology Strategy, a government misallocation of scarce resources needed for higher priorities.
"This cash cow for corporate interests is the opening salvo in another wasteful taxpayer-funded government/industry PR campaign to trash the GM-free values held by most Australian family farmers and shoppers," says GeneEthics Network Director, Bob Phelps. "These in-house studies, by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the private sector, exclude the public and independent experts," he says. "The eight reports will be published only after they are massaged in secret with a GM-friendly corporate spin that justifies the marketing of GM seeds and foods, and 'the introduction of GM canola' by Bayer and Monsanto," he says. "The disinformation strategy will target the popular state and territory moratoria which have been placed on commercial GM canola until 2008 at least, to effectively create a national ban on this contaminating crop," he says.
"The study of economic threats to organic farming from GM contamination is just window-dressing, as the biggest challenge of GM canola would be to conventional GM-free growers who do not have the organic industry's closed-loop marketing and identity preservation systems to protect them," he says. "The GM industry wants to release commercial GM canola immediately and then force conventional GM-free canola growers to market their crop as GM, by burdening them with extra costs to test, segregate and market as GM-free," he says. "Like the North American experience, Australian farmers are now discouraged from saving and replanting their own seed. Once committed, if GM canola arrives the commercial GM-free varieties will soon become unavailable. Choice would end but there would be no escape," he says. "A Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) report has already found that GM canola contamination would end Australia's competitive advantage for GM-free canola in Europe and Asia, and that other grain and oilseed markets would also be at risk," he says. "RIRDC also concluded that the maximum likely benefit from GM canola would be just A$28 million per year. That's a lot of pain for little gain," he says. "The National/Liberal Coalition government rides roughshod over GM-free sentiments and plans to sell out family farmers and shoppers to corporate interests, at public expense," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 (O) 03 9889 1717 (H) 0408 195 099 (M)
Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran has announced $851,890 for eight major gene technology studies to cover:
1. the value of biotechnology for insect pest and weed control in the cropping sector, including experiences with GM cotton;
2. the potential for GM crops to serve as factories for pharmaceutical and industrial compounds, including a review of recent developments world-wide;
3. examining the implications of using gene technology in the oilseeds industry;
4. developing an overview of the value of using biotechnology tools (excluding those GM organisms that are final products) in Australia's primary industries;
5. developing an up-to-date information package on GM canola that covers the particular concerns of government, industry and the wider community;
6. reviewing international market access for GM canola, including regulatory arrangements in countries important to the world canola trade;
7. a pathway to market for GM canola, including identifying the measures needed to address concerns about its commercial introduction; and
8. the economic impact on the organic farming industry of introducing GM crops into Australia, including the treatment of GM organisms in organic certification systems.

Gene Technology Act Review: a failed report - Media release, GeneEthics Network, May 1, 2006
The Gene Technology Act 2000 Review Panel report, issued on Thursday, ignored most of the 280 submissions made to them and instead recommended weaker laws on Genetically Manipulated Organisms (GMOs). The report backs the GM industry's agenda, despite many flaws in the regulatory system and its implementation which we asked the panel to fix.
"We reject the recommendations that: 'the Act be amended to include powers for the relevant Minister to issue a special licence in an emergency' (Rec 4.2) and 'provide capacity for the Commonwealth to declare a thing a GMO by regulation for a limited period in an emergency.' (Rec 9.3)," says Director of the GeneEthics Network, Bob Phelps. "Responding to emergencies is important, but the report makes no recommendations on the need to prevent GM disasters before they arise, even though there have been many instances of mismanagement, accident and unauthorised GMO releases in the past twenty years," he says. "If these recommendations were enacted, infringements of GM laws would be regularised and excused retrospectively without penalty, making the monitoring and compliance provisions of the Act even more meaningless and poorly enforced than they are now," he says. "For instance, the proposed changes would fully legitimise the governments' decision last year to legalise GM contamination after it was found in conventional canola, by retrospectively adopting contamination thresholds of .9% in grain and .5% in seed," he says. "Governments should have ordered canola testing, a product recall, an environmental cleanup and the quarantining of all contaminated canola seed supplies, to ensure that GM contamination did not recur, but nothing was done," he says.
The Statutory Review also recommends that all governments, 'reconfirm their commitment to a nationally consistent scheme for gene technology, including a nationally consistent transparent approach to market considerations.' (Rec 9.1) "This is an unwelcome intrusion into state and territory powers on behalf of the GM industry. The popularly supported state and territory moratoria on commercial GM canola, which will continue until 2008 at least, fall outside the scope of the Gene Technology Act," he says. "The regulator insists that the environment and public health are the only issues within the scope of her Act and the review recommends the scope of the Act remain unchanged," he says. "A policy principle under Section 21 of the Act legitimises the moratoria, by allowing the establishment of GM and GM-free zones on commercial crops while all market issues are resolved," he says. "Diverse GM laws in each state address their differing market needs, so the moratoria in no way undermine the consensus behind strong national uniform gene technology laws," he says. "We encourage the states and territories to fully consult their communities and critically assess the impacts of the report's recommendations before they change anything," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 (O) 03 9889 1717 (H) 0408 195 099 (M)
Copies of the report can be found at:

Watchdog fails on GM food: Chance - Eloise Dortch - West Australian, pg 11 -
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance has attacked the national food safety watchdog, claiming it does not adequately assess health impacts of genetically modified crops. He said more information was needed about the effects of GM food for public health and to inform WA Government policy, which currently includes a moratorium on commercial GM crops. Mr Chance opened fire in defence of the Governments move to fund one of only a few trials to be held worldwide into the effect of feeding animals genetically modified crops.
The plan has attracted criticism from pro-GM scientists and Food Standards Australia New Zealand because the work will be conducted by a research group which is openly opposed to GM products. The trial, due to start mid-year, will see laboratory rats or mice fed GM and non-GM crops over a six month period. Their blood and organs will then be analysed to see if there is any significant difference between those fed different crops. The Government has given a South Australian group, the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, $92,000 to conduct the trial. Institute director Judy Carman said previous trials, generally focussing on one function such as reproductivity, had shown rodents fed GM crops were significantly less healthy  with greater infant mortality, slower growth rates and lower immunity.
Mr Chance said that after announcing the trial in November he had received letters from US scientists criticising the move. All the scientists received research funding from GM companies. Mr Chance said Dr Carman was a "world-class scientist. In addition, the trial would be overseen by an independent steering committee of respected scientists and the results peer-reviewd for publication in a scientific journal. NZ's approach was inadequate (Testing by FSANZ) is not rigorous at all. What they do is review information sent to them by the GM companies and the review is fairly superficial and they don't look at the raw data," Mr Chance said.
FSANZ spokesperson Lydia Buchtmann agreed FSANZ did not conduct trials involving feeding animals or people GM foods. She said FSANZ used product data from GM companies and compared it with data about conventionally grown food of the same type in deciding to approve products. The decisions were extensively peer-reviewed by Australian and international scientists. "To date no studies have shown any problem with the foods we have approved and we are well regarded internationally," she said.

Democrats will maintain GM ban - Eyre Peninsula Tribune, Australia - 23 February 2006
The South Australian Democrats have announced they will move to support the State's ban on genetically modified (GM) crops when the Parliament resumes after the State Election. Democrat Ian Gilfillan said one of the reasons behind the move is some markets are still extremely cautious about genetically modified foods. "Recent premium prices paid by Japan for Kangaroo Island GM-free canola is clear evidence that markets still strongly prefer GM-free produce to produce that has been contaminated," he said. "To abandon our GM-free status now risks losing access to some of the world's best and most sensitive markets.....This would be disastrous for our state economy, which relies heavily on agriculture......The South Australian Democrats believe that as more and more producing countries lost their GM-free status, we stand to benefit increasingly from our ability to guarantee GM-free products."
Member for Flinders Liz Penfold believes farmers should be involved in making any decision on an extension to the GM ban in SA and will "be led by them." "We've had a five-year moratorium and now it's up to the farmers," she said. "The first decision has to be whether we will join with the rest of the State and then it's up to everyone whether we go down the (GM) path." Mrs Penfold said she thinks people are more aware of all the issues surrounding GM crops and believes more people are now in favour of growing GM crops.
The current ban expires in April 2007.

Australian Government backs Terminator technology - ancient practice of seed-saving under threat - News Release, 22 February 2006
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a de facto moratorium on Terminator (sterile seed) technologies, in 2000. Terminator technology, sterilises crop seeds, prevents the ancient practice of seed saving and gives patent owners monopoly control of seed fertility. At the next CBD meeting in Brazil (20-31 March 2006) the Australian Government delegation appears set to help lift a global Terminator ban.
"It's outrageous that the Australian Government is backing Terminator seeds on behalf of the gene technology industry, and the US government which is not a party to the CBD so cannot vote," says GeneEthics Network Director, Bob Phelps. "The Australian government would undermine food security and the biodiversity on which all life depends, for interests which act in bad faith by not even joining the Convention," he says. "Australia is doing the dirty work for Monsanto and the US government which are hostile to biodiversity conservation and have no place at CBD meetings," he says.
Terminator technology was developed to prevent farmers from saving and re-using harvested seed, forcing them to buy new seeds each season. After global protests, in 1999 Monsanto CEO Robert Shapiro said, "We are making a public commitment not to commercialise sterile seed technologies, such as the one dubbed 'Terminator'." But now, Monsanto says it will only keep Terminator out of food crops - opening the door to Terminator cotton, tobacco, pharmaceutical crops and pastures - and says, "Monsanto does not rule out the potential development and use of one of these technologies in the future. The company will continue to study the risks and benefits of this technology on a case-by-case basis."
"Monsanto's revised pledge resonates closely with the actions of the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand delegations that are promoting Terminator at the UN on a case-by-case basis," says Bob Phelps. "Australia must not back an end the Terminator ban, by echoing the languageof Monsanto's weak new promise on suicide seed technology," he concludes.
Contact: Bob Phelps: Tel: 03 9347 4500 {Int Code +613} Mob: 0408 195 099
Three Hundred Organisations Back Terminator ban
The International Ban Terminator campaign today announces that over 300 diverse civil society organisations worldwide demand a permanent ban on Terminator technology, which sterilises crop seeds and prevents the ancient practice of seed saving. See:
"A total and permanent ban on Terminator is needed so we urge all governments to dismiss Monsanto's watered down case-by-case approach when the CBD meets in Brazil next month," says Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Ban Terminator Campaign.
"The gene technology companies want nothing to be grown without a licence making them the masters of sterility and reproduction," says Greenpeace International's Benny Haerlin. "They are pursuing a step by step strategy - tagged 'case by case' - to gain control of the global food supply and undermine the integrity and fertility of nature."
The technology threatens agricultural biodiversity and could destroy food production for the 1.4 billion people who depend on farm-saved seed. "The world's farmers and Indigenous peoples cannot trust Monsanto," says Alejandro Argumedo from Asociación ANDES - Potato Park in Cusco, Peru. "Monsanto's broken promise is a deadly betrayal because Indigenous peoples and farmers depend on seed saving for food security and self-determination."
"Terminator is a direct assault on farmers, Indigenous cultures and on the food sovereignty and well-being of all rural people, especially the poorest," said Chukki Nanjundaswamy of La Via Campesina in India, which represents tens of millions of peasant farmers worldwide. "If Australia and Monsanto bully the UN into allowing 'case by case' acceptance of Terminator, developing world farmers will be carried off the land coffin by coffin."
For more information contact:
Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Ban Terminator Campaign; Pat Mooney, ETC Group Jim Thomas, ETC Group T: +1 613 241 2267 - -
Hope Shand, ETC Group T: +1 919 9605767 - -
Alejandro Argumedo, Asociación ANDES. T: +51 84 245021 - -
Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network. T: + 60 4 226 6159 - -
Chukki Nanjundaswamy, La Via Campesina. T: +91 80 860 4640 - -
Benedikt Haerlin, Greenpeace Int T: +49 30 27590309 -
Notes to editors:
1. Monsanto's new pledge on Terminator and GURTs is online at A full copy of their new and old pledges is available at
2. Delta and Pine Land refer to Terminator as Technology Protection System (TPS). Terminator is currently being tested in greenhouses and Delta and Pine Land vowed to commercialize it within the next few years.
3. In February 2005 at a meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Assessment (SBSTTA) in Bangkok, Canadian government delegates made a surprise attempt to overturn the moratorium by allowing Terminator to be field tested and commercialized. Last month, at another preparatory meeting in Granada, Spain (known as the Working Group on 8j), the Australian government, coached by a US State Department representative, also attacked the moratorium. See ETC Group news release on 27th January 2006: "Granada's Grim Sowers Plow up the moratorium on Terminator" available at

GM canola is the least popular of the GM crops with only 18% global adoption rate and almost all of that is grown in Canada. While both Canadian and Australian canola yields experienced a gradual increase in yields as farm practises improved, statistics show that Canadian yields did not increase as GM canola was introduced. Australian and Canadian canola yields are very similar and there is no evidence of the 10-40% yield claimed.
Over 20% of Canadian farmers grow a non-GM variety called Clearfield and yet that same variety is available, but not popular in Australia. There is also now very clear evidence of a price penalty associated with GM or GM contaminated produce. Attempts to segregate in Canada failed and almost all canola is sold as GM. Canada lost their premium over Australian canola of $US32.68/tonne and are now faced with price penalties up to $US30/tonne and are experiencing large carryover stocks despite their major market being US which is not GM sensitive.
With little benefit, higher costs and lower commodity prices and an inability to segregate, there is a risk, not a benefit associated with GM canola.

NGOs hit out at Australia, Canada and New Zealand for opening the door to GM Terminator Technology
From: The UK Campaigning Group on Terminator Technology
An alliance of leading environment and development organisations has condemned Australia, Canada and New Zealand for attempting to open the door to Terminator technology, a form of genetic-modification that would make seeds sterile and threaten the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. The alliance, which is known as the UK Campaigning Group on Terminator technology, has sent letters of protest to the High Commissioners of all three countries to raise concerns over proposals to weaken the global moratorium on Terminator technology, which would effectively give Terminator the green light. The alliance's response follows a meeting of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Spain from 23 to 27 January, which was attended by representatives from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, among others. The meeting reaffirmed the CBD moratorium on Terminator technology, but recommendations were made for case-by-case risk assessment. This would ignore the serious concerns raised globally by Indigenous peoples and small-scale farmers on the negative potential impacts of Terminator. Instead, these recommendations would mark a move towards assessing applications of Terminator on a country-by-country basis.
The alliance is also concerned about the influence of the US on decisions around Terminator. The US refused to sign the Convention on Biodiversity but works through other countries to influence decision-making at crucial meetings. The alliance fears that the governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand are working in collusion with the US administration and the biotechnology industry. Elisabet Lopez from the UK Campaigning Group on Terminator Technology, said today: 'We are deeply concerned that the US can still influence the result of CBD meetings despite not being Party to the Treaty. The recommendations coming from last week's meeting open the door for Terminator to be introduced. As signatories to the first Millennium Development Goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, Australia, Canada and New Zealand cannot justify their support for Terminator technology in the face of massive opposition from Southern countries and farmers around the world.'
Terminator technology is a technology designed to make seeds sterile. As a result, it would prevent farmers from saving seeds from their own crops each year. This would threaten global food security and the livelihoods of 1.4 billion small-scale farmers who depend on seeds they save or exchange with neighbours and other communities. This traditional practice of seed saving has the twin benefits that seeds are adapted to local conditions and are free of charge. Terminator is being developed to stop farmers from saving seeds and to ensure that biotech companies can gather royalty payments and technology fees from farmers each year. The US Department of Agriculture is a joint patent holder for one type of Terminator patented in the US, Europe and Canada. The major biotechnology corporations have also obtained patents for their versions of Terminator technology. The issue now moves to the major CBD meeting in Brazil from 20 to 31 March.
Notes to editors
1. The UK Campaigning Group on Terminator Technology includes UK Food Group, Progressio (formerly CIIR), Friends of the Earth, GM Freeze, GeneWatch UK, The Gaia Foundation, Econexus and Munlochy GM Vigil. Link to for free copies of a leaflet on Terminator Technology.
2. The global moratorium is CBD Decision V/5 section III agreed in 2000. This decision states that products incorporating Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) should not be approved for field-testing or commercial use.
3. The fourth meeting of the Working Group on the implementation of Article 8j of the CBD (concerning the preservation and use of Traditional Knowledge for the conservation of biodiversity in indigenous and local communities) was held in Granada on 23-27 January.
4. The official name for Terminator is Varietal Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (V-GURTs). Terminator prevents seeds forming embryos and therefore they fail to germinate. Seeds are soaked in particular chemicals to switch on the Terminator gene before they are sold to farmers.
5. Terminator is a biological way to protect patents on GM crops "The goal of (the Terminator technology) is to increase the value of proprietary seed owned by US seed companies and to open up new markets in Second and Third World countries," Willard Phelps, USDA spokesperson, March 1998.
6. The US Department of Agriculture jointly holds the patent for one version of Terminator technology with the US corporation Delta & Pine Land in the USA (1998) and Europe and Canada (October 2005).
7. On Tuesday 14 February (3:30-4:45pm) Joan Ruddock will chair a parliamentary briefing on Terminator technology in the House of Commons (Committee Room 6). For invitations see contact details below.
8. Cross party Early Day Motion 1300 Terminator technology has to date been signed by 57 MPs from all major parties.
Press enquiries to: Finola Robinson, Progressio's Press Officer, on 0207 354 0883 or via email at:
(See also the leaflet on Terminator at -

Gene-Ethics Network - MEDIA ALERT 27/1/06
Australia is doing dirty work for the USA and its genetic engineering industry at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Granada, Spain, this week. Advised by the US, Australia is trying to end the de facto global ban on GE terminator technology which will be used tomake seeds infertile, to prevent seed saving and enforce corporate seed
patents. "Though Monsanto, Delta and Pine Land, and other GE seed companies publicly promised to halt the development of Gene Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS) after a global outcry in 1999, our government now seeks to lift the ban," says Bob Phelps, Director of the GeneEthics Network. "Terminator seeds are the most immoral and controversial use of agricultural genetic engineering, yet an axis of evil governments - Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA - are brow-beating the rest of the world to end the terminator ban," he says. "The Howard government is clearly assisting GE companies to get a stranglehold on the world's food supply," he says. "Industry promises to 'feed the world' are shown to be a total lie, created for the purpose of getting monopoly control of the food we all eat," he says. "Our government has not consulted the traditional farmers and seedsavers who would be directly affected, nor the Australian public whose food security will be at risk," he says. "Developing country governments oppose terminator seed as it threatens the tried and true methods developed by their farmers and indigenous peoples over aeons," he says. "Our own farmers would lose their choice of crop varieties and production methods too," he says.
"Terminator technology would make it impossible for farmers to re-plant saved seed, tightening GE company control over patented seed varieties which must be purchased each season at whatever price the companies decide to charge," he says. "Farmers world-wide would be shackled to buying new seed each season and unable to replant saved seed as they've been doing for thousands of years," he says. "The spread of terminator genes to other crops and wild plants through pollen transfer could make their seeds sterile too," he says, "threatening the natural environment as well as farm sutainability." "The farmers' selection of seed that is adapted to changing environmental conditions and local practices would end, so that global food production and security may fail," he says. "We call on the Australian government to immediately terminate its advocacy for terminator technology, and inform the Australian public of its outrageous behaviour," Mr Phelps concludes.
For meeting reports see: mysql/3F13783DE52010A6519F7D04E35B4642//cgi-bin/webmail?redirect=http%3A%2F% 9JBMQOUQLl8Rug%3D%3D
and background mysql/3F13783DE52010A6519F7D04E35B4642//cgi-bin/webmail?redirect=http%3A%2F% Ll8Rug%3D%3D
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500

GM-canola in lab tests - By Linda Sharman - Countryman December 1 2005 page 5 -
Genetically modified canola varieties Roundup Ready and Invigor are likely to be assessed under an animal feeding trial to be funded by the State Government. And Topas 19/2, the Bayer variety found in non-GM canola recently, may also be added to the trial. Agriculture Minister Kim Chance anounced the trial earlier this week, which aims to gain independent data on the safety, or otherwise, of GM food crops. The Government has approved a proposal from the Institute of Health and Envirronmetal Research in Adelaide, a not-for-profit research institute which describes itself as having a scientific interest in the safety of GM organisms. The announcement follows news that a study on a variety of GM pea caused inflammation of the lungs of mice.
IHER director Judy Carman told Countryman that in the initial proposal put to the Government a few months ago, she had recommended two canola varieties - Monsanto's Roundup Ready and Bayer Cropscience's InVigor - and three corn varieties, probably Bt varieties, be investigated. But Dr Carman said she would recommend that now be expanded to three varieties to include Topas 19/2, also produced by Bayer Cropscience. "We're wanting to pick a few key GM plants where there are some significant concerns about the safety of them, do the independent, thorough, long-term safety testing and see if there are any concerns or not," she said. Dr Carman said while IHER believed there was a need for independent safety testing, with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand not requiring any animal testing before determining if a GM product was safe to eat, she stressed the research was not setting to get a pre-determined result. "We're trying to work out if there are problems or not," she said.
And Mr Chance is of a similar view, saying the trial would be an independent study of GM food crops so that the WA government could gets its own data on GM foods, with much of the research usually done or funded by the companies promoting the product. Rats will be used in the feeding studies, which will be conducted over several months to allow for any ill health to become apparent. The study will examine the rats for any cancerous or precancerous growths, and assess the potential for GM DNA to enter their bodies, although Dr Carman expects the finer details of exactly how the trial will be conducted and assessed to be run by a sterering committee. This is expected to be formed by the end of the year, and will be made up of 8-10 people from animal and human health and agriculture backgrounds to oversee the work and ensure the experiment is conducted properly.

WA to fund independent health testing on GM foods - State GM study splits farmers - The West Australian, 28 November 2005
The State Government has announced it will fund laboratory testing on rats to determine the safety of genetically modified food crops, sparking a rift between farming groups. Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said most GM research in Australia was done by or funded by companies with a vested interest in promoting GM food, prompting community concern about its safety. Mr Chance said the study by Adelaide's Institute of Health and Environmental Research would give the Government independent data. But the announcement has divided farming groups.
Anti-GM lobby group Network of Concerned Farmers welcomed the decision, but WAFarmers fears the announcement will stall the formation of a high-level advisory group to examine a path for commercialised genetically modified crops in WA. Concerned Farmers spokeswoman Julie Newman said an independent study was vital considering GM crops could not be recalled if they later proved dangerous."We cannot rely on voluntary testing done by companies focused on promoting GM crops," Mrs Newman said."They only give the public information that supports their case and are unlikely to release any information that would damage their ultimate goal of having GM crops in Australia."
WAFarmers president Trevor DeLandgrafft suspects the study will duplicate testing already done. "At the end of the day, all testing has to get past the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, which is a Federal office for determining the safety of foods," Mr De Landgrafft said."It may be useful, in that it could allay fears in the minds of people who don't trust existing studies but may trust an independent study."If it did this it could be useful, but it could end up just duplicating other studies and be a means of stalling the formation of the high-level advisory group."
A spokesman for Mr Chance said the Minister was committed to the high-level group and expected to announce the committee this week. The study will involve two initial trials on three GM corn varieties and two canola varieties given approval for commercial planting in Australia. It will examine rats for cancerous and pre-cancerous growths and assess the potential for GM DNA to enter the animals' body.

GM pea causes allergic damage in mice - Emma Young, Sydney - news service, 21 November 2005
A decade-long project to develop genetically modified peas with built-in pest-resistance has been abandoned after tests showed they caused allergic lung damage in mice. The researchers - at Australia's national research organisation, CSIRO - took the gene for a protein capable of killing pea weevil pests from the common bean and transferred it into the pea. When extracted from the bean, this protein does not cause an allergic reaction in mice or people. But the team found that when the protein is expressed in the pea, its structure is subtly different to the original in the bean. They think this structural change could be to blame for the unexpected immune effects seen in mice. The work underlines the need to evaluate new GM crops on a case-by-case basis, says Paul Foster of the Australian National University in Canberra, who led the immunological work. He also calls for improvements in screening requirements for genetically engineered plants, to ensure comprehensive tests are carried out. Jeremy Tager, Greenpeace Australia's campaigner on genetic engineering, agrees. "These results indicate the potential for unpredicted and unintended changes in the structure of transferred proteins. And I'm not aware of any country that requires feeding studies as part of its approval process
Field peas (Pisum sativum) are susceptible to the pea weevil Bruchus pisorum, which lays its eggs on the pea pods. The weevil frequently devastates crops not only in Australia but across the developing world. The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) contains alpha-amylase inhibitor-1, a protein that inhibits the activity of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that is used by pea weevils to help them digest starch. CSIRO Plant Industry researchers hoped the developing weevils would starve after eating the protein, before they could cause any real damage to the crop. Trials showed that the GM peas were almost completely resistant to the pea weevils.
Hypersensitive skin
Foster and his team then used mice to investigate whether eating the GM peas might have any undesirable immune impact. Generally, digested proteins do not create a specific immune system response. But researchers found that mice that ate transgenic pea seed did develop antibodies specific to the protein. Some of these mice were later exposed to the purified protein, either through injection into the blood, or by putting the protein into their airways. This approach is a standard "multiple immune challenge" procedure and is designed to determine if the immune system is tolerant to a protein. The injected mice showed a hypersensitive skin response, while the airway-exposed mice developed airway inflammation and mild lung damage. The effect was the same whether the protein was taken from raw or cooked peas - so whether the protein was active or denatured. "To my knowledge, this is the first description of inducing experimental inflammation in mice" with a GM food, Foster says. In the early 1990s, researchers engineered a more nutritious strain of soya bean by adding a gene taken from brazil nuts. But the project ended when it was discovered that the hybrid was likely to trigger a major attack in people with brazil nut allergies.
Human consumption
Further investigations by Foster's team revealed slight differences in the molecular structure of the protein when it was expressed in the bean and in the pea. They think this was caused by differences in the way the two plants produce proteins - particularly in a step called glycosylation, which involves adding saccharides to the protein. When expressed in the pea, the protein was glycosylated at different points - that's the only structural change we've been able to identify so far," says Foster. He adds that slight differences in protein synthesis might also occur in other plants with other genes, meaning each new GM food should be very carefully evaluated for potential health effects. "If a GM plant is to go up for human consumption, there should be a detailed descriptive list of how one should go about analysing that plant," he says. Tager agrees. It is rare for an investigation of the potential health effects of a GM product to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, he adds. "If it had been a private company doing this, it might never have seen the light of day," he says.
Journal reference: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (vol 53, p 9023)

Expert claims tests should be done on all GM foods -
The following transcript is taken from:
CSIRO abandons research into GM peas - Reporter: Paula Kruger - ABC, 18 November , 2005 -
MARK BANNERMAN: It is an issue that has caused fierce debate among scientists, farmers and consumers - whether or not genetically modified food is bad for your health. Adding fresh fuel to that debate is news today that the CSIRO has had to abandon 10 years of research into genetically modified field peas because it made mice sick. The CSIRO says the result shouldn't cause alarm, because it shows that there are adequate measures in place to weed out defective GM crops. But opponents of the technology say not all producers of GM products maintain the same high standards and that the long-term effects are still unknown.
Paula Kruger reports.
PAULA KRUGER: The field pea may sound like a humble little plant, but it's actually an important rotation crop for Australian farmers worth up to $100 million a year. And when the CSIRO took on the task of genetically modifying it, they wanted to make a plant that was resistant to pea weevils, a pest known to decimate 30 per cent of crop yields. So they created a new field pea by adding a protein found in Kidney beans that causes the weevil to starve to death. But when they added kidney bean DNA to encourage the field pea to create the protein itself, the humble sounding plant had its own ideas and made a different protein. The result was a product resistant to insect attack, but when it was fed to mice in small quantities over a few weeks, it made them sick.
Deputy Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry Dr T J Higgins.
T J HIGGINS: The mice responded, not in a life-threatening way, these tests showed that there was inflammation of their lungs, which means that white blood cells go to that point of stress in the lung tissue.
KAREN KRUGER: So we can assume that it was something that affected the immune system?
T J HIGGINS: That's right. Absolutely.
PAULA KRUGER: Dr Higgins says he is very disappointed his team couldn't create a safe pest resistant field pea and says this rarely happens.
T J HIGGINS: There has been one other case that has occurred during the 10 or 15 years that genetic modification has been going on. That was a case where a gene was being transferred from Brazil nuts into soybeans to improve the protein quality of soybeans for feeding animals. Most proteins do not change when they're transferred.
PAULA KRUGER: The CSIRO has tried to spin a positive out of the failed project by saying it shows that measures designed to protect the public from unsafe GM products are effective. But that is not the view of Dr Judy Carmen the Director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research.
JUDY CARMEN: First of all, I think the people who did this study should be congratulated, because this is the kind of study that should be done on all GM foods. And the study was done with the CSIRO, but it was particularly done at the John Curtin School of Medical Research and they have done a very good study here. One of the problems with this study is that, as I said, it hasn't actually been done with other GM foods and needs to be done. So while Dr T J Higgins is saying that this shows that the regulatory process is working, unfortunately it doesn't, because this pea has never made it to the regulatory process.
PAULA KRUGER: So you fear that there's probably other genetically modified products out there that, like this field pea, would fail the test if it went through animal testing?
JUDY CARMEN: Yes. There very well could be and I think that we do need to have very thorough safety testing done on animals.
PAULA KRUGER: The feeling among farmers is mixed. The Farmers Federation grains group in Victoria say they're disappointed the field pea project had to be scrapped but that it shouldn't diminish the public's confidence in GM technology. But Julie Newman, a Western Australian farmer and spokeswoman for the Network of Concerned Farmers doesn't share their confidence and says some farmers are finding it hard to remain GM free.
JULIE NEWMAN: We haven't got a choice at the moment. The Government has decided that we are to accept contamination in our non-GM products. Now, if the health testing down the track becomes obvious that there is a problem, we can't recall this product, and that's the problem. We want to be able to market as non-GM, or GM-free, which legally means no-GM, because consumers don't trust the regulatory process at the moment.
PAULA KRUGER: The CSIRO says it will ensure its failed field pea doesn't cause any more problems. It plans to incinerate or bury its 12 tonne crop.
MARK BANNERMAN: Paula Kruger reporting.

So much for the regulatory processes governing GM crops in Australia! - Network of Concerned Farmers -
Confirming similar findings of many independent feeding tests that have been debunked by those pushing GM crops, CSIRO found serious health problems with mice fed GM peas and dropped their project. Health testing is only done by the company that is wanting approval for release but luckily, CSIRO did these voluntary feeding tests. Why aren't these feeding tests compulsory?
In the late 1990's, before GM canola was declared "safe", GM companies were lightly reprimanded for ignoring the voluntary protocols required to contain their GM canola trials in Tasmania and Topas 19/2 was one of the lines involved. Topas 19/2 was a GM canola variety that EU had planned to remove human consumption regulatory approval due to an identified problem associated with antibiotic resistance.
State governments identified an economic and market risk associated with GM canola and imposed a ban or moratorium. Much to the joy of the GM companies, it was found that the popular variety Grace was contaminated with Topas 19/2 and this has contaminated every canola growing state in Australia. The trait had genestacked and is now resistant to both triazine and glufosinate ammonium. The Victorian DPI announced that the non-GM canola variety Grace was bulked up for resale at around the same and on the same farm that Bayer Cropscience's Topas 19/2 was grown. Rather than a requirement for Bayer Cropscience to pay for the damages, Government and industry has now approved a level of GM contamination in our non-GM product which means our GM-free has been stolen and due to government approval, we have no legal recourse without a strict liability regime. Farmers that did not want GM canola are now paying for expensive testing regimes and any market loss associated with the contamination of Bayer Cropscience's GM canola.
How dare Bayer Cropscience now insist our Federal government overide State bans to allow them to contaminate our land further. If a health problem is found in the future, this product can not be recalled. This negligence in containing the GM product is happening globally and our food supply is being irreversibly contaminated. If Bayer Cropscience and Monsanto were to pay for their negligence, they would be far more careful about containing their product and ensuring their product is safe!

GM crop scrapped as mice made ill - Selina Mitchell and Leigh Dayton - The Australian, November 18, 2005,5744,17283002%255E2702,00.html
CSIRO scientists have abandoned a decade-long GM crop project in its last stages of research after learning that peas modified to resist insects had caused inflammation in the lung tissues of mice. It is only the second time in the world a GM project has been abandoned after a gene transfer from one crop to another, deputy chief of CSIRO Plant Industry T.J.Higgins said yesterday. The findings - published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry this week - suggest the allergic-style reaction in the mice was triggered because the protein was altered by a natural process. Dr Higgins said it was disappointing to have to discontinue work on the genetically modified field pea, which had proved almost 100 per cent effective against insect attack. But he said the case demonstrated the effectiveness of strict regulations on research into genetically modified crops. The regulations did not allow the commercial release of a genetically modified crop unless it satisfied all health and safety requirements.
"It's a good example of why the regulations are necessary," he said. "This work strongly supports the need for case-by-case examination of plants developed using genetic modification and the importance of decision-making based on good science." But Greenpeace GM campaigner Jeremy Tager disagreed. "That's complete nonsense," he said. "Withdrawing a failure doesn't show the success of the regulatory system....It just shows the failure of the science in relation to this gene product." Director of the GeneEthics Network Bob Phelps was pleased the project was scrapped. "Not only are these experiments on a minor crop a waste of public money, they highlight the growing concern worldwide about the health impacts of all GM foods," Mr Phelps said. The GM peas will be destroyed, Gene Technolgy Regulator Sue Meeks said. "The whole proof-of-concept study will be wrapped up under contained conditions - nothing has entered the human food chain," Dr Meeks said.
The CSIRO was working with the Grains Research and Development Corporation to genetically modify peas to resist attack by the pea weevil (Bruchus pisorum) and fungus. Pea weevils alone can cause yield losses of up to 30per cent a year in the $100million-a-year field pea industry. The scientists added a gene that produces a bean protein to the peas that causes weevil larvae to starve. Humans have been eating the naturally occurring bean protein for years. But a team at the John Curtin School of Medical Research found that when mice were fed the GM peas, they suffered an adverse reaction and their lung tissue became inflamed. "It was not life-threatening, but nonetheless it was a concerning reaction," Dr Higgins said. However, he said the search for weevil and fungus-resistant peas would continue, using the gene transfer system that was developed at the CSIRO as part of a $3million project.
In an earlier case of GM research, work on a protein-enhanced soy product was abandoned when it was discovered that the brazil nut gene transferred to the soy produced a protein that could cause allergic reactions in some people. Grains Research and Development Corporation managing director Peter Reading said it was good to be able to identify problems "early in the piece". A spokeswoman for Bayer Crop Sciences, also involved in researching GM products, said the CSIRO's decision had no impact on the firm's GM work. Melbourne-based Monsanto - which has developed several GM food products, including corn - was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) is warning Industry leaders that they should not be ignoring the economic wellbeing of farmers in their personal support of GM crops. The NCF claim industry leaders are betraying farmers to side with the GM companies. "We are being sold out by our industry leaders and they should be held accountable for accepting liability on behalf of farmers," said Juliet McFarlane, canola grower from Young, NSW. "Why are existing policies being ignored? Why are ex Monsanto managers and GM companies now actively working with farm lobby groups to evolve policies and strategies? This is coercing industry unity to force additional costs on farmers." (Ref 1)
"The GM industry must be laughing at our industry leaders. The GM benefits are just not there to pay for the multitudes of parasites wanting to profit from GM introduction." The NCF claim that State lobby groups such as NSW Farmers, WA Farmers, GRDC, AWB and GCA are making statements that clearly oppose the policies and constitutions of their organisations. (Ref 2) "If these organisations followed their policies, there must be proof of an economic advantage, a guarantee that segregation will meet market demand and a guarantee that existing farmers will not be adversely affected. Instead, these issues are being ignored with an attitude that allowing GM contamination without risk management will resolve the issue."
Although there is nothing set in legislation, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council recently approved the setting of tolerance levels for GM crops. The NCF state there is an industry led push for commercial sized coexistence trials which they feel is a deliberate attempt to worsen contamination.
"If the industry can't control contamination when it is prohibited, what is going to happen if they are allowed to grow thousands of hectares of GM canola with little or no restrictions?" "Farmer profitability is already being eroded by additional expensive testing costs and market risks associated with an acceptance of tolerance levels. If industry leaders accept commercial release under the guise of "coexistence trials", the costs will increase further as farmers will need to adopt an expensive identity preservation system," said Mrs McFarlane.
ABARE estimated the identity preservation system as $35/tonne (or 10-15% of the gross value of the product) to maintain a 1% tolerance level. The system involves a rigorous quality assurance system where farmers ensure they have taken every step to avoid contamination with GM. "All farmers are expected to pay more to allow a few selfish hyped up farmers to find out for themselves that they have been misled by an expensive propaganda campaign that relies more on slamming opposition than providing factual data." "If the science of GM is as flawed as their debate, we will have some real problems in the future."
Juliet McFarlane NSW 02 63822509, Julie Newman WA 08 98711562 or 08 98711644, Geoffrey Carracher Vic 03 53866261
Network of Concerned Farmers
Reference 1:
1.1. West Australian Farmers Federation Press Release
Heavily lobbied and admittance that current existing varieties not better than conventional varieties:

Extract: "WAFarmers has been recently lobbied by the major players in GM technology and they have made it clear that further trials in WA will not happen unless there is a clear path to market for their product. Nor are they likely to conduct trials until such time as they can be confident of a new seed variety that will clearly demonstrate benefits over existing conventionally bred varieties. In effect, if all barriers were cleared today, it would be two to three years before trials were recommenced."
1.2. Quote from David Hudson's (ex Monsanto's GM crops manager) submission to the Gene Tech Act Review.$File/sga_070.pdf
"David has been actively engaged in the evolution of the grains and seed industries policies and strategies for the introduction of agbiotech products for Australia, having active involvement in the development of policies for the Gene Technology Grains Committee, Australian Seeds Federation, Australian Oilseeds Federation and more recently Ausbiotech, *and the Grains Council of Australia*."
1.3. Agrifood Awareness, chiefly funded by Avcare (the chemical industry) is a major contributor to policy of farm organisations.
Reference 2:
Extracts from Policies:
*GRDC: they "must provide substantial agronomic, environmental and economic benefits" to the stakeholders i.e. graingrowers and taxpayers.
*AWB: "Therefore before GM canola can be released commercially in Australia, the AWB National Pool requires a supply chain system that can achieve segregation of GM and non-GM grains and guarantee product integrity."
*GCA: Constitution:
The objects of the Grains Council of Australia are: (b) to maximise the economic and social welfare of Australia's grain growers; and
FUNCTIONS - To initiate and influence policy decisions on matters which affect the profitability, viability, sustainability, comparative advantage and international competitiveness of Australia?s grain growers;
To develop strategies that address key issues, industry objectives, impediments or opportunities to trade which affect the grains industry, in a manner that will enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, viability or comparative advantage of Australia's grains industry;
*West Australia:
"WAFarmers supports continued well contained trialed research into GMOs providing legal liability issues are addressed adequately. WAFarmers will consider the commercial release of GMO crops in WA on a case by case basis after full assessment of benefits, alternatives, risks and risk management.
WAFarmers supports the current State Government moratorium on the commercial release of GMOs however, requires that the new State Government implement a high level industry consultative group to provide advice directly to the Minister for Agriculture.
WAFarmers accepts the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) and its charter to protect the health and safety of Australians and the Australian environment, however, requires that measures are implemented to address issues of co-existence, economic and legal liability."
*South Australia:
"The Federation believes that the ultimate decision regarding adoption of gene technology rests entirely with the marketplace when taking into account financial, environmental and philosophical reasons. However, in choosing such a status there must be no negative impact on those who choose not to embrace the technology. "
...2003 SAFF Conference Resolutions Further to the above position, the Federation at its annual conference held in July resolved that the meeting record its opposition to the commercial release of GM canola in South Australia while issues of market acceptance, cost and liability remain unresolved.
Additionally, the Conference resolved that the Federation call on the state and federal Governments to delay the commercial release of GM canola until it can be shown that there will be minimal risks on other growers.
*New South Wales:
That the Association support:
...(c) the commercial release of GM products provided that:
(ii) the release is clearly supported by the industry concerned on the basis of its significant economic or environmental benefits
(iii) the interests of farmers affected by the commercial release are protected, where necessary, by a cost effective and robust system of identity preservation implemented along the length of the supply chain; and
(iv) farmers are able to insure against potential litigation that might result from their adoption of the technology.
"AgForce Grains supports individual grain growers having the right to maintain their current farming and marketing practices in the event of the release of GMO crop varieties for commercial production. In the event of the release of GMO crops for commercial purposes, producers choosing to utilise their traditional or current marketing and production systems should not be negatively impacted in regard to supply chain costs or market access."
2.2 NCF National Spokesperson, Julie Newman claimed the Grains Council of Australia (GCA) submission to the Gene Technology Act review did not comply with the policies of the organisations GCA represented. The Grains Council of Australia (GCA) responded by threatening legal action but Mrs Newman has not heard from the lawyers since she gave detailed references to the GCA. The GCA submission opposed a strict liability regime and promoted removing the States ability to impose moratoriums based on economic or market risk. (more details )

Ban trials until Bayer Cropscience pays for damages - Press Release for immediate release - NETWORK OF CONCERNED FARMERS, 1 November 2005
The Victorian DPI [Department of Primary Industries] released details revealing that the GM contamination of the non-GM canola variety Grace was caused in Tasmania, not by importation of contaminated seed as thought. Non-GM seed was being bulked up for resale at the same location that GM trials of Topas had been grown. The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) is calling for a complete ban on all trials grown by Bayer Cropscience until damages are paid. "Bayer Cropscience must be made to pay all costs and losses caused by their negligence, not rewarded by allowing contamination without liability redress." said Geoffrey Carracher, Victorian NCF Spokesperson. "GM contamination should not be a surprise, the risk was obvious. The early OGTR reports show that Bayer Cropscience made little effort to contain their product in these early self regulated trials. " "Farmers should not be expected to pay for the testing and market losses caused by Bayer Cropscience's obvious negligence."
The government has accepted a contamination in seed and produce but the NCF claim that the tolerance levels set does not comply with ACCC law or market demand for GM-free or non-GM. Mr Carracher claims farmers are still required to sign contracts to guarantee there is little or no GM contamination in their seed and stock feed despite field tests not being available to check. He also explained how industry participants are drawing up contracts to exempt themselves from liability. "All costs and liabilities are falling on the farmers that do not want contamination, rather than the GM company that caused the problem." "GM contamination is a risk we are not prepared to take and we shouldn't be forced to take it without adequate legal redress." "Setting contamination levels is an easy way out for governments but they can't ignore unfair liability. Good governance involves fair compensation for allowing industry sabotage."
Mr Carracher was the first farmer in Australia to identify his Grace seed was contaminated with Bayer Cropsciences GM crop. Further expensive testing revealed that despite spraying with Triazine, the GM plants in his crop survived. "No, I don't want contamination and I shouldn't be the one paying for it." "Bayer Cropscience is allowed to grow large scale GM seed bulking trials for export to Canada with no concern of contamination of Australia's crops. Bayers license should be withdrawn and these trials must be stopped until Bayer Cropscience pays for the damages their smaller trials have already caused."
Contact: Geoffrey Carracher 03 53866261 Or Julie Newman 08 98711562 or 0427 711644 Network of Concerned Farmers

GE companies accused of contaminating seed - ABC, 28/10/2005 -
Greenpeace is accusing seed companies including Bayer of contaminating seed with genetically modified material to force Australia to accept the technology. New tolerance levels have been set for canola seed, with GM tolerance levels set at 0.5 per cent for the next two seasons and 0.1 per cent after that. Greenpeace spokesman John Hepburn says the decision lets biotech companies off the hook. "To be honest, it probably sounds a slightly cynical view but it seems as though around the world GE companies have almost adopted a conscious strategy of contamination, to force acceptance of their product or adoption of their product," he said. "Contamination will continue to spread unless you put in strict controls and really push for zero contamination of seed."
Bayer CropScience has declined to comment on the Greenpeace allegations but says it welcomes the setting of a GM tolerance level. Meanwhile, Western Australia's Minister for Agriculture, Kim Chance, says there is no need to review that state's GM moratorium despite calls from farmers. After another contamination discovery in the west this week, Western Australian Farmers Federation president Trevor de Langrafft wants an advisory group established to examine the moratorium. He says it has given the Government and industry breathing space but has now served its purpose.
WA still aiming to be GM-free - ABC, 28/10/2005 -
Western Australian Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says WA will still aim to be genetically modified (GM)-free, despite supporting tolerance levels for GM material in non-GM canola. Australia's agriculture ministers have agreed to national standards that mean canola grain which is 0.9 of 1 per cent GM material can still be considered non-GM. The threshold matches the level of GM material considered acceptable in Europe. Mr Chance says the state can still legislate to make WA GM-free, but that probably will not happen for a few years. "I think we have to mop up what we've got out here at the moment and hope to pursue that objective sometime in the future, but the reason I mention it now and why it's important in this context is to just underline that fact that we haven't given up and we are still pursuing our aim of being GM-free," he said.
GE deal sells out farmers - Greens Media Release 28/10/05
Greens MLC Ian Cohen says that agriculture ministers meeting in Tasmania have sold out farmers that wish to remain GE free. "Organic farmers wanting to produce GE free canola products are in real trouble," Mr Cohen said. "They are going to have to undergo expensive testing procedures to ensure their crops have not been contaminated. "The Governments should have been trying to contain the contamination by ensuring next year's seed stock was completely GE free. "Instead the Federal and State Governments have legalized ongoing contamination...NSW Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald should be ashamed that he has sold out NSW farmers....Many of those farmers rely upon the clean and green tag. GE contamination now poses a massive risk to their market advantage.....The ministers should have agreed to bring in a strict liability scheme so that those companies producing the GE product compensate farmers for loss caused by any contamination of their GE free crop," Mr Cohen said.
Further Information: Ben Oquist 02 92303305 or 0419704095
Farmers call for compensation for GM contamination - MEDIA RELEASE 28/10/05
The Primary Industries Ministerial Council agreed to adopt an Australian threshold level set at 0.9 percent GM contamination for canola crop and 0.5 percent for seed in the coming two seasons in 2006 and 2007, and there after the intention is to set a limit of 0.1 percent. The Network of Concerned Farmers are insisting on compensation for any losses caused by acceptance of GM tolerance levels. "Why wasn't liability discussed at this meeting and how are we expected to manage a tolerance level when there is no practical testing regime to try to achieve it?" asked Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers. "Accepting a blanket Australia wide tolerance level when the farmer has to pay for any market loss and testing costs is not a fair solution." "We can not accept GM contamination if we are to be liable for it."
The NCF are angry at the section in the PIMC communique that states "Council agreed that where jurisdictions wish to adopt a GM free standard, industry will be required to develop effective testing, standards and protocols for a supply chain able to provide confidence that the grain is free from GM material." "The Primary Industries Ministerial Council has set the precedent that the GM companies wanted. If states such as Western Australia want to protect farmers by maintaining a stricter standard, it is now up to those states to take the trouble to try to keep GM contamination out when it is known to be impossible to achieve."
Mrs Newman brings attention to the fact that Bayer Cropscience had a condition of license to provide a workable testing regime within 30 days of the granting of their license by the OGTR and she claims they have not done that. "The agricultural industry is now expected to pay for trying to develop an effective testing regime which Bayer Cropscience obviously couldn't manage to achieve. Farmers should not be expected to subsidise the GM industry." "A testing regime was a condition of license that has not been met and Bayer Cropsciences license should be withdrawn until it is."
The Network of Concerned Farmers has released a draft proposal for a strict liability regime. This involves the establishment of a profession tribunal to evaluate risk and a fee is set for license holders to pay into a contingency fund to cover contamination cleanup costs and compensation for proven economic losses. "Most farmers are not prepared to take this risk to our industry and we should not be forced to take it without adequate risk management and fair legal recourse."
Contact: Julie Newman 08 98711562 or 08 98711644 Mobile 0427 711644

Chance wants quarantine laws tightened - ABC News, 26 October 2005 -
Western Australia Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says federal quarantine laws need to be tightened to prevent further instances of contamination from genetic modification (GM). Mr Chance is in Launceston, in northern Tasmania, today for a meeting of federal and state agriculture ministers, a day after it was revealed genetically modified material had been found in canola crops growing near Albany, in southern Western Australia. The latest contamination comes after GM material was found in trial crops in Lake Grace and Cranbrook last month. Every state in Australia apart from Queensland has a moratorium on the commercial production of GM crops. But Mr Chance says current federal laws do not support the states' position. "Specifically the quarantine act doesn't provide the necessary guarantees that we can make illegal and prevent the importation of seed of this nature," he said. He says if the situation persists, the states will lose the ability to choose whether or not to adopt GM technology. "The worst possible outcome in my view is that we get forced into a position as the US did and as Brazil did where they had made a decision to not be GM or at least keep GM separate from non-GM, and then find that by default other things happen that take that control away from the industry."

Ag Ministers bow to biotech bandits - GREENPEACE MEDIA RELEASE
Thursday October 27, 2005: Yesterday's historic decision by State Agriculture Ministers to legalise GE seed contamination sets a precedent that will have far reaching impacts for farmers and consumers, and lets biotech companies off the hook for GE contamination of Australian crops. The new contamination levels virtually guarantees that widespread low level GE contamination will continue indefinitely. "The decision to allow the sale of GE contaminated seeds next year supports the interests of biotech companies, not farmers," said John Hepburn, Greenpeace GE campaigner. "Seed companies will be able to sell contaminated seed to farmers, without having to tell them. This is a recipe for further contamination and will add further costs and difficulties for organic and GMO free growers".
The Primary Industries Ministerial Council announced today that they would allow up to 0.5% contamination of seeds for 2006 and 2007 and would try to reduce this to 0.1% in future years. "They're putting the interests of reckless biotech companies ahead of farmers and the community", Hepburn said. "If governments are serious about the GE moratoria, and about cleaning up contamination, they need to insist on zero detectable contamination of seed. This is the only way to eliminate contamination".
Each hectare of canola has up to 600,000 plants. 0.1% contamination means 600 GE canola plants per hectare, each of which can produce between 5,000 -10,000 seeds. So with 0.1% seed contamination threshold, this means 3 - 6 million GE canola seeds produced per hectare making ongoing contamination of fields and supply chains inevitable. "Seed contamination thresholds are a major blow to farmers and consumers wanting to grow and eat GE-free. With virtually no consumer acceptance of their products, it appears as though Bayer have adopted a strategy of contamination in order to force the Australian farming community to adopt GE canola against their wishes", Hepburn said. "And it looks like Federal and State Governments are going along with it."
Agriculture Ministers also announced an allowable 0.9% GE contamination threshold for this year's canola harvest - enabling farmers to sell this years harvest and protecting them from liability. This decision is in response to widespread contamination of conventional canola with Bayer's GE canola variety known as 'Topas'. Three commercial varieties Grace, Stubb and Beacon have been found to be contaminated. It remains to be seen how the 0.9% threshold will be enforced and who will pay the costs involved in testing and cleanup. "This whole debacle shows exactly why strict liability legislation is required to force biotech companies to take responsibility for negative impacts of their products," Hepburn said. "If Agriculture ministers are serious about our GE-free status, they need to insist on zero seed contamination, and introduce strict liability for GE companies."
More information:>
Communications Officer: Carolin Wenzel (02) 9263 0358 0417 668 957
Campaigner: John Hepburn (02) 9263 0306 0407 231 172
Governments endorse GE contamination - GeneEthics Network Media Release - October 27 2005
The Agriculture Ministers have legalised GE canola contamination. They forgave gene technology and seed companies, and the quarantine service, for their failure to obey the law and keep Australian canola GE-free. "Allowing GE contamination of 0.9% in harvested grain will not satisfy the majority of shoppers here and overseas who want GE-free foods," says GeneEthics Director Bob Phelps. "The Ministers could have opted for a strategy to clean up GE pollution by seed testing, GE-free seed certification and zero detectable GE contamination from next year," he says. "State governments can apply tougher rules than those adopted by the Ministers and we will encourage them to work towards being really GE-free again, with all the marketing pluses that brings," he says. "Farmers may harvest their crop this year, no GE contamination questions asked, but there are no guarantees the crop will sell on all world markets as it did when GE-free," he says. "Overseas grain marketers and regulators had set a 0.9% GE threshold only for occasional accidental contamination of food, not the routine pollution that our Agriculture Ministers have accepted," he says. "The Ministers will also allow the sale of canola seed contaminated with 0.5% GE for the next two years, so unsuspecting farmers will continue to spread GE indefinitely, on their farms, in the environment and into supply chains," Mr Phelps says. "The Minister's intention to reduce allowable GE contamination in canola seed to 0.1% from 2008 is wishful thinking as it encourages GE companies to facilitate more GE contamination," he says. "Governments must get serious about Australia being GE-free, with rigorous action plans to restore the grain and oilseed industries to GE-free status as soon as possible," he says. "Strict liability laws are urgently needed to make the GE industry fully responsible for GE contamination and damage," Mr Phelps concludes.
Comment from: Bob Phelps Tel: 03 9347 4500 or 03 9889 1717 - WWW:
Organic Farmers Deplore Ministerial Council GM Decision - Media Release, Thursday, 27 October 2005
"We deplore the decision yesterday by Agricultural Ministers to allow GM contaminated canola seed to be planted in 2006 and 2007 at a level of contamination of GM at 0.5% and thereafter at 0.1%," said Mr Scott Kinnear spokesperson today. "We will have no option but to recommend to our farmers that they do not grow organic canola in Australia from now on. This mirrors the decision taken some years ago by more than 1000 organic canola farmers in Canada who are seeking to sue Bayer and Monsanto for loss of income through a certified class action." "We proposed that State Governments take three steps to quickly return Australia to its GM free status."
1. Implement an exemption for GM contaminated canola grain to be harvested, stored, transported and sold. This is so farmers are not made the victims. Ministers agreed this to.
2. Require seed companies to guarantee that canola seed planted from 2006 onwards is GM free. This is the best way to quickly return our GM free status. Ministers did not agree this to this.
3. Require seed companies to be liable for the consequences of selling GM contaminated canola seed including compensation for economic harm, cleanup, cost of testing etc. Ministers did not agree to this.
"The seed companies are responsible for this contamination through a failure of their quality assurance processes, at a time when a moratorium is in place, and it is unthinkable to BFA that they have been rewarded for this. Under this decision it is unlikely that organic canola can ever be produced in most States of Australia. Ongoing contamination will also impact greatly on organic food processors who use canola oil." "We applaud Western Australia and Tasmania's decision to take a tough stance on GM content in seeds and their plans to recover their GM free status. We ask what the other States will say to those farmers who no longer have a choice to be GM free with canola?"
The Biological Farmers of Australia represents and certifies through its subsidiary Australian Certified Organic more than 1500 farmers throughout Australia.
More comment: Scott Kinnear 0419 881 729
T: 07 3350 5716 (International +61 7 3350 5716) - F: 07 3350 5996 (International +61 7 3350 5996) - WWW: <>

Ag Ministers must act on GE contamination - Japanese consumers add voice
Tuesday, 25 October, 2005: Agriculture ministers from all canola growing states face mounting pressure ahead of tomorrow's Primary Industries Ministerial Council meeting in Launceston, over the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered canola contamination. Japanese consumers have added their voice to calls from farmers and environment groups about the need to find and eliminate the source of GE canola contamination and keep Australia GE free.
The Seikatsu Club Consumers' Co-operative in Japan, which has 260,000 members and buys 1% of Australia's canola crop each year, has written to Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran, urging him, "to take more strict measures to prevent seed [contamination] from genetic pollution, including stronger rules for field trials, and to ensure more strict identity preserved distribution."
The discovery of GE contamination in a Victorian farmer's field earlier this month is worrying farmers, consumer and environment groups who want to see the States protect their GE-free crop moratoriums. Geoffrey Carracher, a Canola farmer from Wimmera, was devastated to find that his 64 hectare crop worth $48,000 was 0.5% contaminated with Bayer's Liberty Link gene. Alarmingly, the same 'Grace' seeds he purchased were also sold to farmers across three states: NSW, Victoria and South Australia, creating serious legal and financial problems for them. "Any farmers who sowed Grace canola face the same risk and need to get their crop tested," said Mr Carracher, who is concerned about the legal minefield he is now exposed to. "How will I keep my crop from contaminating my neighbours' crops? Will my contractors harvest my canola if it's known to be contaminated? If I can't harvest it, who will compensate me for the $48,000 it's worth?"
Greenpeace has proposed an action plan, sent to all State Agriculture ministers, that would address the current crisis. It includes: comprehensive testing of seed stocks; a farmer protection fund to cover farmers' costs, and strict liability for GE products, so that holders of the patent are held responsible for harm and contamination caused by their product. "The GE canola contamination is a direct result of the incompetence and lack of care of the biotech companies," said Greenpeace GE campaigner John Hepburn. "They now want to convince us that we can be 'a little bit pregnant', but in reality any level of contamination threatens Australia's GE free status. Governments need to act fast to identify and eliminate any sources of GE contamination." Greenpeace opposes the release of genetically engineered plants into the environment due to the unknown long term environmental and health impacts.
Communications Officer: Carolin Wenzel 0417 668 957
Campaigner: John Hepburn (02) 9263 0302 0407 231 172
Geoffrey Carracher: Wimmera, Victoria (03) 5386 6261 0428 316 901
Images of Geoffrey Carracher in his contaminated canola field: - (User: photos - Password: green)

Canola industry urged to clarify GM issue - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 October 2005 -
A major east coast canola crusher has warned the domestic industry to sort out the genetically modified canola issue or risk losing premium markets. There have been reports of GM contamination of up to 0.5 per cent in some commercial canola varieties. Pete MacSmith, from MacSmith Milling in New South Wales, says his customers are becoming concerned they are paying a premium for canola, which may not be GM-free. "What our customers and what everyone's customers are looking for is certainty," Mr MacSmith said. "Japan as we know already takes GM canola from countries such as Canada and I know it's hard to believe for canola growers given where the price is at the moment, but canola from the east coast of Australia at the moment is relatively expensive in world terms due to the much smaller crop. "If our customers in Japan are going to pay a higher price they need some sort of certainty as to the status of that crop."

First Australian farmer falls prey to GE contamination
Melbourne, Thursday October 6, 2005: The first confirmed case of genetically engineered (GE) contamination in a field of commercial canola has struck a Victorian farmer. The incident opens up a legal mine-field for farmers and threatens Australian export markets. Geoffrey Carracher, a Canola farmer from Wimmera, Victoria, accepted a Greenpeace offer to test his canola seeds at an independent lab. The seeds were found to be contaminated with Bayer's Liberty Link gene at a level of 0.5%. This is 50 times higher than the original Liberty Link contamination found in June. Alarmingly, the 'Grace' seeds he purchased were also sold to farmers across three states, creating serious legal and financial problems for them. "I am devastated. My 64 hectare crop worth $48,000 is now at risk. Any farmers who sowed Grace canola face the same risk and need to get their crop tested," said Mr Carracher.
Greenpeace has begun testing canola seeds for GE contamination because State Governments, seed companies and the biotech industry have failed to take decisive action to stop the spread of GE. "Testing seed samples from farmers should have been done months ago, by industry and government," said Greenpeace GE campaigner Jeremy Tager. "Laboratory analysis takes 3-5 days. Contaminated canola varieties could have been identified within a matter of a few weeks, and a plan developed for protecting farmers and our food shortly after that." "The GE industry insists that we must all accept this sort of contamination, when it is a direct result of their incompetence and lack of care. They want to convince us that we can 'be a little bit pregnant', in reality any level of contamination threatens Australia?s GE free status," said Tager.
Greenpeace opposes the release of genetically engineered plants into the environment because it will create a new form of biological pollution that is extremely difficult to control and whose impacts are virtually unknown. Mr Carracher, who is dedicated to being and remaining a GE-free farmer, wants the company that owns the GE product to be held accountable. "I want Bayer to take responsibility - they own the patent and they get the profit, so it's only fair that they should be liable for what happens to farmers like me."
Greenpeace proposes an action plan that would address the current crisis. It includes: comprehensive testing of seed stocks; a farmer protection fund to cover farmers' costs, and strict liability for GE products, so that holders of the patent are held responsible for harm and contamination caused by their product.
Contacts: Communications Officer: Carolin Wenzel (02) 9263 0358 - 0417 668 957
Campaigner: Jeremy Tager (07) 3892 7538 - 0438 679 263
Images of Geoffrey Carracher in his contaminated canola field:
User: photos Password: green - More information

Response to ABARE: Higher costs, lower yields and market loss does not equate to a benefit to farmers - 18 September 2005
The Network of Concerned Farmers claim that the report released today from ABARE is misleading and based on unsubstantiated claims. 'ABARE modeling has found that failure to commercialise transgenic crops now and in the near future could, by 2015, cost Australians $3 billion,' Dr Fisher said. "This is simply not true. GM gives lower yields, higher costs and market risk to a range of commodities and in no way represents a benefit to Australian farmers," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers. Mrs Newman explained that the GM debate was centred around GM canola with two different traits. Bayer Cropscience is offering a hybrid canola variety resistant to the chemical glufosinate ammonium and Monsanto is offering a variety that is resistant to glyphosate. "Even Bayer admits their variety yields 20% less than non-GM hybrids. Their chemical is far more expensive than non-GM varieties and does not kill radish our worst weed and the price of seed is a ridiculous $16,000/tonne. Why would we want to pay more to get less?" "The best yield Monsanto had on their website equated to 17% below the national average and Monsanto's user fees are exhorbitant." "Couple this with a serious market loss to a range of commodities and we have a serious potential loss for our industry if GM canola is introduced."
The Network of Concerned Farmers have been campaigning for a strict liability regime to prevent non-GM farmers being liable for any costs or market loss caused by GM products. State governments have recognised this issue and will be discussing the possibility of introducing a strict liability legislation at next months Primary Industries Ministerial Council meeting. "If those pushing GM crops truly want to resolve the GM issue, they should start addressing the problems and unfair liability is top of the list. Non-GM farmers will not accept liability for a GM product we do not want and do not need." "Lets face the truth, governments and research institutes want farmers to adopt GM to encourage corporate investment to plant breeding, not for the benefit of farmers. Farmers pay at least $65 million/year to research and development, scientists can't expect us to sacrifice our industry as well. "
Contact: Julie Newman 08 98711562 or 08 98711644 (mobile only if not available: 0427 711644)
ABARE press release: 19 September 2005 - GM-free stance costs Australia
Australia's GM-free stance on planting transgenic canola could result in significant losses for Australian farmers, according to the September issue of Australian Commodities released today by Dr Brian Fisher, Executive Director of ABARE. Although Australia?s gene technology regulator has approved transgenic canola for commercial planting, state and territory legislators have established moratoriums prohibiting the growing of transgenic canola. Moratoriums on commercialising transgenic canola currently exist in all states and territories except Queensland and the Northern Territory. "ABARE modeling has found that failure to commercialise transgenic crops now and in the near future could, by 2015, cost Australians $3 billion," Dr Fisher said.
Continued growth in the adoption of transgenic crops and continued development of new varieties of transgenic crops in Asia and in north and south America will potentially result in Australian grain and oilseed producers competing with increasing volumes of transgenic grains and oilseeds in export markets. This is likely to result in lower profitability and lower market share for conventional grain crops, which are more expensive to produce than transgenic varieties. "The current moratoriums are having a negative impact on Australia?s research and development effort, and Australia risks being left behind as other nations embrace innovations in transgenic crop development," warned Dr Fisher. Australian canola producers are already competing with transgenic canola seed in their major export markets. Australian producers of other conventional grains also face a future in which they potentially are forced to compete with lower cost transgenic crops grown in Asia and in north and south America.
For media interviews and comment, contact report author Stephen Apted on 02 6272 2059.
For copies of the article Transgenic crops: welfare implications for Australia, please visit the ABARE web site or phone 02 6272 2010. This article is contained in the September 2005 issue of Australian Commodities.
For general media enquiries, contact Maree Finnegan, Media Coordinator on 02 6272 2260.

NSW GM crop ban welcomed - GeneEthics NEWS MEDIA RELEASE 14/9/05
Melbourne, Wednesday September 14, 2005: The GeneEthics Network welcomes NSW Agriculture Minister Ian Macdonald's decision to extend the state ban on genetically manipulated (GM) crops from 2006 to 2008. "NSW has come into line with other state's bans on the growing of GM canola - a rational and necessary decision," says GeneEthics Director Bob Phelps. "But the discovery of GM contamination in National Variety Trials (NTV) of canola in Western Australia, commissioned by the pro-GM Grains Research and Development Corporation, shows the ban is threatened," he says. "Tough GM control measures and a zero tolerance policy for contamination in NSW are needed to identify, clean up and eliminate any GM pollution," he says.
GeneEthics wrote to all Agriculture Ministers asking them to:
* maintain GM crop moratoria in all jurisdictions, and that no state or territory end its present ban without the concurrence of others, as GE free areas would also be affected if GE canola were grown commercially.
* the need for uniform liability laws to ensure that:
1. common law remedies are not relied on to redress any harm or contamination that genetically engineered organisms may cause;
2. the owners of GE organisms are fully responsible for any negative impacts of their use;
3. an industry-supported fund is established to compensate anyone suffering loss or harm from the impacts GE organisms.
"The voice of reason is being heard, as Minister Chance has called for national strict liability laws and the extended NSW ban till 2008 aligns it with most other states," Mr Phelps says.
"Bayer's Topas 19/2 variety of herbicide tolerant canola, found recently in commercial canola in Victoria and South Australia must also be eliminated," he says.
"GM contamination is still at low levels but it can and must be quickly cleaned up before the nation's valuable GM-free markets are lost, both locally and globally" Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 (O) 03 9889 1717 (H)

Monsanto's GM contamination found in Australia - 13 September 2005
Mr Chance said trace levels of Monsanto's GM canola had been found in two varieties of non-GM canola grown in National Variety Trials (NVT) in WA and that similar incidents had been reported in other canola-growing States.
Attention: News Editor/Chief of Staff
Traces of GM canola found in variety trials
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today called on GM companies to take greater care and responsibility for their product or face clean up costs in Western Australia following another contamination incident in WA. Mr Chance said trace levels of Monsanto's GM canola had been found in two varieties of non-GM canola grown in National Variety Trials (NVT) in WA and that similar incidents had been reported in other canola-growing States. "Fortunately, the low trace level of GM material means there is no immediate threat to access to overseas markets or the environment," Mr Chance said. The GM level detected at the trial sites was 0.04 per cent, which is well below international market standards. The harshest standard in the world is that of the European Union at 0.9 per cent.
"Regretfully, the GM companies appear unable to contain their product within the laboratory or within Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) trial sites and they appear unable or unwilling to respect WA's moratorium or those in place in other Australian jurisdictions," Mr Chance said. The NVT program is funded and managed by the Grains Research Development Corporation and there are two canola NVT trial sites in Western Australia. These trial sites are now being treated as GM sites and will be managed in accordance with established and approved protocols. "Because the trace levels are so low, I am allowing the variety trials to be completed as they will provide valuable information. If these trials presented any danger to our reputation I would not allow them to continue," Mr Chance said. The crops are currently flowering and all grain harvested from the sites once the trials are completed will be destroyed. The sites will then be monitored and any volunteer canola plants that germinate will be destroyed before they can flower.
"I am confident that these measures will manage the current situation. However, should such incidents recur in the future I will require the contaminated area to be destroyed," Mr Chance said. "I shall be raising the issue of GM contamination and the need for strict liability legislation as a matter of urgency at the next meeting of the Primary Industry Ministerial Council.....I will be seeking urgent advice from the Department of Agriculture on the means necessary to ensure that such events do not recur in WA while our moratorium is in place. " "The Gallop Government is committed to protecting and enhancing Western Australia's agriculture and unique environment."
Media contact: Alicia Miriklis 9213 6700, 0428 911 240.

Remove your unwanted genes Bayer Cropscience - For immediate release, 06 September 2005
A delegation of farmers from the Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) protested at Bayer Cropscience headquarters in Melbourne today. Farmers delivered samples of canola to be tested and asked Bayer Cropscience to "remove their trespassing genes" from their properties. (Letter Ref 5)
"The industry can not just ignore contamination until after we deliver our harvest and farmers can?t accept any contamination if we are to be liable for the economic loss or additional costs caused by it," insisted Geoffrey Carracher, NCF spokesperson and Victorian farmer from Minimay. "It's a moratorium and it is Bayer Cropscience's responsibility to recall their unwanted GM product just as it would be our job to collect our sheep if they wandered on the road or on to another farmers property."
Since the contamination scandal was announced in several states, an industry task force has been established to routinely test seed samples and the protocol adopted involves growing the samples and spraying it with the chemicals the GM crop is resistant to. Only GM crops would survive and further testing would be done on positive results. The testing procedure would take at least 8 weeks. (Ref 4) "Farmers need to know if we have contamination as we will be signing to guarantee there is no contamination in our seed when we deliver it. We can?t wait a few months for a test and Bayer Cropscience were meant to have a better test than that."
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) imposed a condition of license on Bayer Cropscience to provide a testing methodology that is able to reliably detect the presence of each of the GMOs or their genetic material. The NCF contacted the regulators office but were told that the testing information was "commercial in confidence." (Ref 2) "It is commercial incompetence not to have an accurate field test when these varieties were planned to be released and coexist with non-GM varieties. How can we tell if we have contamination when there is no test available for it?" asked Mr Carracher. "In order to deflect the blame to seed imports, Bayer Cropscience reported on the ABC yesterday that the variety Topas 19/2 was only grown in Tasmania but the OGTR site reveals this variety was included in trials in all the states that have reported contamination." (Ref 3) "We don't believe Bayer Cropscience has complied with their license conditions and the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator should withdraw their license until they do."
The NCF are urging farmers to forward samples to Bayer Cropscience in order to assist any future legal action that may be taken against the company if economic loss has occurred. "Bayer Cropscience refused to have the samples tested and refused to sign the letter of receipt," reported Mr Carracher.
Contact: Geoffrey Carracher 0428 316901 or Jessica Harrison 0407307231
1. Photos will be posted as soon as available.
2. OGTR condition of license: Under Section 15 of the Conditions of license imposed by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator on Bayer CropScience Pty Ltd for the Commercial release of InVigor® canola(Brassica napus) for use in the Australian cropping system DIR 021/2002 released 25th July 2003:
The licence holder must provide a written instrument to the Regulator describing an experimental method that is capable of reliably detecting the presence of the GMOs covered by this licence and any transferred genetically modified material that might be present in a recipient organism. The instrument must be provided within 30 days of &nbsp;this licence being issued."<BR><BR>"Specific condition 1 requires the licence holder to provide a testing methodology to the Regulator that is capable of reliably detecting the presence of the GMO."
3. Comment re Topas 19/2 trials: See ABC Country Hour" Reference: ; "Samples of the genetically modified canola known as Topas 19/2 have been found in all three states; a variety that has only been trialed once, back in 1998 in Tasmania." ... "In that interview Ms O'Neill told us the GM variety Topas 19/2 had been grown in trials at Horsham in 1997. So when we heard the variety was grown in trials in Tasmania, we contacted Bayer for some clarification. Ms O'Neill informed us "subsequent investigations by Bayer Cropscience have revealed that the variety Topas 19/2 was not grown in trials in Horsham, or indeed anywhere in mainland Australia." Bayer have confirmed the variety was trialled in Tasmania, but was not able to say exactly where."
"Under the former voluntary system overseen by the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC), Bayer (formerly AgrEvo, Aventis CropScience) conducted 14 field trials (PR62, PR63 and extensions) with all seven GM canola lines in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South&nbsp;Australia and Western Australia. In addition, the Regulator issued a licence on 30 July 2002 to Bayer (DIR010/2002) to conduct a limited and controlled release of the same GM canola lines at 30 trial sites, totalling 106 hectares, in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia for the summer and winter growing seasons in the three years from 2002-03."
4. Australian Oilseeds Federation testing protocol:
5. Letter delivered to Bayer Cropscience: available at

Govt pressured to identify GM-tainted canola - ABC, September 6, 2005.
A new case of pure canola seeds being contaminated by genetically modified (GM) varieties is putting pressure on the Victorian Government to find the source of the contaminations. Incidents have occurred in Victoria and Western Australia, and last week in South Australia. The Network of Concerned Farmers' Wimmera spokesman, Geoffrey Carracher, says the State Government should hurry up their investigations. He says a "contamination exit strategy" must be developed. "You clean up and if you can find the seed that's caused it, to spray that out now so that it doesn't contaminate this year's crop, and so that we get back to our GE [genetic engineering]-free status," he said. "We can't have contamination and expect the non-GM farmer to pick up the cost of it because there'll be reduced opportunities for the sale of our grain."

GCA seeking legal action on GM slur - 10 August 2005 -
The Grains Council of Australia has decided to seek legal advice in relation to allegations about its policy on agricultural biotechnology raised by the Network of Concerned Farmers in Western Australia. Network comment: "The GCA biotechnology policy does not state that the burden of liability is to rest with non-GM farmers. I welcome legal action as it will allow me to give information to support my statements." Julie Newman
Released 10 August 2005 - 1st Floor NFF House, 14-16 Brisbane Avenue, BARTON ACT 2600 Email: Internet:
The Grains Council of Australia has decided to seek legal advice in relation to allegations about its policy on agricultural biotechnology raised by the Network of Concerned Farmers in Western Australia. GCA's Chief Operating Officer, David Ginns, said a statement today by NCF contained serious implications and accusations which needed to be addressed in a legal context. "The statement is currently being referred to GCA's legal counsel. The statement by the NCF not only unfairly attacks the integrity of GCA staff, but it implies that the Council is subject to outside influence in its policy deliberations", Mr Ginns said. "The only interests GCA has are the interests of its members and the interests of the vast majority of grain producers in Australia who want access to technology that will make them more efficient farmers. NCF and other extreme environmental groups are only interested in a very narrow view of the world and they represent a tiny number of farm businesses, many of them part time farmers and full time activists?, Mr Ginns said. "GCA will be making no comment on these statements by NCF representatives until legal opinion is forthcoming?.
For more information, contact: - Niree Creed - 0418 625595
Who's pulling GCA's strings, ask farmers - Press Release: For immediate release - 09 August 2005
The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) has accused the Grains Council of Australia (GCA) [of being] ignorant of the issues surrounding GM crops. This follows a press release and submission issued by Grains Council of Australia claiming a GM liability legislation is unwarranted in opposition to West Australian Agricultural Minister Kim Chance's support of the proposal. "What right has the Grains Council of Australia to accept GM liability on behalf of farmers that do not want and do not need GM products?" asked Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers. "The GM benefits promoted appear to be little more than a scam but consumer and market rejection is very real and farmers need fair risk management. GCA don't seem to realise that the best of biotechnology is non-GM." "Ignorance and arrogance is no excuse for GCA to deny fair risk management."
The NCF have been promoting a strict liability legislation for many years claiming that farmers are required to sign contracts guaranteeing there is no GM in their non-GM products and that they would be liable for economic loss caused by GM contamination. Mrs Newman claims that numerous lawyers have confirmed that there is little legal redress for non-GM farmers to claim compensation caused by GM contamination. "Why should the polluted pay? A strict liability legislation ensures the polluter pays which is only fair and reasonable." "How dare GCA staff ignore the burden on farmers and exempt GM companies from the burden of liability caused by their GM product. Why is GCA supporting the GM companies rather than the farmers they claim to represent?" "It has been obvious that Mr Ginns, CEO of GCA is extremely pro-GM and has been very active in promoting GM amongst GCA members, but an employee should not be allowed such free rein when representing farmers."
Mrs Newman claims the GCA statement is directly opposed to WAFarmers policy which clearly states that liability issues need to be addressed. "If liability is not addressed, consumers will have no choice because it will be too difficult and too expensive for farmers to market as non-GM."
Contact: Julie Newman 08 98711562 or 0427 711644
GCA Press Release: - Released 9 August 2005
1st Floor NFF House, 14-16 Brisbane Avenue, BARTON ACT 2600 Email: Internet:
The Grains Council of Australia has dismissed calls for Federal liability legislation to cover genetically modified products as unwarranted and unreasonable. GCA's Chief Operating Officer, David Ginns, said today that a proposal from Western Australia for Federal legislation to specifically cover any liability related to production of GM crops would place an unreasonable burden on an area of technology development which is proved to have substantial benefits for consumers, developing countries and producers. "Agricultural biotechnology is critical to the future of Australian plant industries, as it will allow greater freedom for the development of more efficient, environmentally and socially sustainable food, fibre and industrial product value chains. Agri-biotechnology is much broader than modification of plant varieties to confer chemical resistance, which represents less than 10 per cent of plant biotechnology?, Mr Ginns said. "Australian producers must have access to new technology, because the adoption by our competitors of agri-biotechnology is providing them with a productivity advantage over Australian producers", he said. "Any attempt to restrict that access through the imposition of unnecessary legislation must be resisted. The sector is over regulated at the moment. The Federal government spends $8 million each year regulating plant biotechnology, but the grains industry currently invests only $6 million in research in this area. This is not a reasonable balance and the technology would be regulated out of existence". "On the matter of liability, the use of bio technology is no different from any other technology used on farm, including herbicides and pesticides. Producers have a responsibility to ensure their actions don?t impact on others". "The current legal system provides recourse for producers to pursue damages if there is a clear case of having incurred real loss or damage through the actions of others. Calls for even more laws restricting farmers' rights represent a severe over-reaction by activists representing a minority view", Mr Ginns said. "This is a knee jerk response to the detection of traces of GM canola in a West Australian shipment, which is merely the result of improved testing regimes. The WA Government has conceded that the interim tests are unreliable, and that the level is well below anything that would compromise the State's GM-free status" he said.
For more information contact - Niree Creed 041 8625595

WA seeks national GM liability laws - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Tuesday, 09/08/2005 -
Western Australia's Minister for Agriculture says he would like to see national legislation governing liability for GM contamination. The call comes after preliminary test results in WA identified a small amount of genetically-modified canola in non-GM canola. The sample has now been sent overseas to confirm the initial results. Kim Chance says while he believes his state's GM-free status is not under threat, liability laws are something the grain industry should consider. "And indeed, I think the question of liability laws is one that the pro-GM groups ought to support as well, because it would be, if it was properly constructed, it would be something that would give a degree of legal certainly to both sides," he said.
The issue is set to widen, with the Western Australian discovery coming just weeks after a similar incident in Victoria. Authorities believe the source of the contamination could be from lines of commercial seed sold to farmers all over Australia. Scott Kinnear from organics group Biological Farmers Australia says seed products may have to be recalled and crops destroyed to protect Australia's GM-free status. "Certainly the banning of any contaminated seed varieties from sale and either crop destruction, which is what we are urging them to do or a quarantining type of arrangement whereby we identify the crops and we send them through the supply chain in very carefully monitored and controlled consignments to ensure that contamination is not spread throughout the grain cropping system throughout Australia," he said.

Orange council takes stand against GM crops - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 July 2005 -
Orange City Council has declared itself a 'genetically modified (GM) crop free' area. Councillor Jeremy Buckingham moved the motion at the last council meeting because he says many people are concerned about the long-term effects of genetically modified organisms on the environment. Councillor Buckingham says Orange has followed the example of many councils across New South Wales, including Cabonne and Forbes. "There's not much, if any, cropping going on in the Orange local government area, but we border Cabonne and there's a lot of potential for GMOs [genetically modified organisms] to be grown there because it's a canola growing area," Cr Buckingham said. "So it's just a symbolic gesture that says the people of Orange are still concerned and we want to see more rigorous testing and we want to find out what exactly it does mean to the community if GMOs are in food chain."

Asian flour mills unlikely to take GM - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 July 2005 -
Asian flour mills say they are unlikely to buy Australian genetically-modified (GM) wheat because it would affect their ability to sell to their markets. They have given their views to a study on GM grains, commissioned by Biotechnology Australia. Victorian consultant Peter England has presented his findings on Asian attitudes to a conference in Canberra. "The negatives for GM would be along the lines of loss of their markets or long-term health issues," he said. "And the benefits they see are either no benefits or flour yield improvements or quality of flours."

You wouldn't believe your luck if your company was given government approval to release your non-recallable, self replicating patented product and given permission to increase costs to your oppositions customers and devalue their products. You wouldn't believe the government would also exempt you from any damages your product caused. On the other hand, imagine how angry you would be if you owned a successful business that sells products that your customers want when you find your government has given permission to allow your opposition to vandalise your merchandise making it less saleable and you must give a proportion of your lowered income to pay for allowing this to occur. This anti-competitive practise wouldn't happen in any other business, so why are GM crops so different?
Farmers don't have to be too smart to want to avoid market rejection. If Non-GM farmers don't want GM contamination, have no way of preventing it, no practical or economical way of detecting if it is present, or removing it if it is, why should we be liable for economic loss caused by it? Already we have Australian Non-GM canola contaminated by GM canola and everyone is running around saying "she'll be right mate" but expecting farmers to pay for losses. Farmers will not accept the liability for economic loss caused by a GM crop we do not want and do not need and this issue must be resolved as a matter of urgency.
Who's liable for misleading and deceptive promotion? GM canola has been promoted to have far more qualities than the single gene technology giving chemical resistance and there have been many attacks on the preferred non-GM alternatives. We will have pro-GM supporters waving the flag claiming anything from higher yields to drought tolerance but evidence of adverse performance is suppressed and independent trials have been denied. If introduced, GM farmers will regret not insisting on independent trials as they will be expected to suffer the economic loss associated with giving GM crops a try and finding costs, not yields, are higher. We have seen how the supposed "informed debate" has lead to risks being ignored, trivialised or understated and the risk management proposed being inadequate and leading to poor industry and political support.
Production is market driven, which means farmers can not dictate to markets, markets dictate to farmers. Markets are demanding a Non-GM product and non-GM means no GM. It is not 1% contaminated which is the trigger for a "GM" label and not 2% contaminated which is the "same as other grains". The ACCC has confirmed that legally no GM is accepted in Non-GM labelled products or in stock fed GM products. Our own Federal FSANZ was involved in successfully suing a company for misleading labelling for as low as 0.0088% contamination. yet those pushing GM have the audacity to ignore the fact that tolerance levels are not accepted simply because they know contamination can not be controlled to this level. Setting a "tolerance level" is not the hurdle, the hurdle is to set a tolerance level that is accepted by law and by all of our markets. Industry representatives can not continue to lie to farmers and expect us to pay for the consequences!
Who's liable for coexistence failing? Our industry is not prepared for GM crops as there are no approved coexistence protocols. Coexistence principles must comply with the aim of coexistence, must comply with law and market demand, must be widely understood and accepted and must not impose unacceptable costs and liabilities on those that do not approve of this imposition. The responsibility for the control of contamination and the liability for failure can not rest with farmers not wanting to be negatively impacted by GM crops. The Gene Technology Grains Committee principles fail on all counts and deny coexistence. It is very clear that the real aim of the biased GTGC is to ensure farmers lose our ability to market as non-GM without farmers realising it until it is too late. These outrageous GTGC principles are not practical, fair or ethical and have not been endorsed. Farmers are owed a duty of care and will not remain complacent.
Another imposition of the "coexistence" plans were that both non-GM farmers and GM farmers lose our right to replant our own seed as even non-GM farmers must buy new seed every year. (An additional cost of around $300,000 for our farm alone.) Buying new non-GM seed is an even worse problem when the seed industry has set an "allowable" GM contamination tolerance level of 0.5% in non-GM seed. Planting the crop from this contaminated seed could result in thousands of GM plants/ha and therefore crops derived from this seed will not be able to be marketed as "non-GM". This is only an attempt to transfer the liability to non-GM farmers. When delivering our grain, we will need to indicate if our load contains any GM. There is no accurate field test available as strip tests will only give a maybe Yes or maybe No answer and will not detect the low levels demanded by markets. Already, grain receival points and supply chain participants have GM clauses integrated in their contractual agreements. Farmers are signing to say that our grain does not include any trace of GM grain and that we indemnify the company concerned if they cause any contamination of our produce. This is how the supply chain will deflect liability to the non-GM farmer. In effect due to signing this agreement, the non-GM farmer is liable for any actions, claims and demands arising from any GM contamination throughout the supply chain, and traceability through quality assurance schemes ensures this guarantee is enforceable. The non-GM farmer is expected to be liable for the price difference if grain is downgraded to GM, for recall and contamination cleanup if caused, for the GM testing costs throughout the supply chain, for the additional closed loop segregation costs, and in some cases even expensive GM user fees due to end point royalty arrangements. This is an outrageous imposition and non-GM farmers should not be expected to accept these costs and impositions.
There is no problem with biotechnology, it is only with GM technology but GM is being pursued by our government because millions of dollars have been invested by governments in GM technology in the hope that the scientific sector will be self funding. No real benefits have been forthcoming and market risk is rapidly worsening. No government should sacrifice a viable industry in order to prop up a high risk, failing, fledgling industry and if they do, somebody other than farmers or taxpayers should be liable for the consequences. Why should we believe those pushing GM crops when they say there is no risk if they expect us to take the liability if they are wrong? The market reality is that much of our produce is threatened by GM contamination. A $12.25 billion/year industry is at risk and Australia must take this risk seriously. We must ensure no legislation imposes unfair risks and liabilities to the existing industry. GM crops are the biggest threat to the agricultural industry we have ever faced and industry leaders have no right to accept GM contamination and industry sabotage on behalf of farmers that can not afford to accept it. Companies must be liable for economic loss caused by their product, not the farmers who want to avoid these risks. As recognised by the Federal report titled "Liability Issues Associated with GM crops in Australia", common law does not adequately address liability issues as there is little chance for legal recourse by non-GM farmers. Legal action will be very expensive and the outcomes will be doubtful.
Contamination will occur and economic loss will occur but who do you think should be liable? The non-GM grower as proposed? Nobody should expect Non-GM farmers to compensate the GM industry. The GM grower? Friends against friends? No as our social structure is reliant on each other. The Governments that means you, the taxpayer? If liability is not addressed governments have clearly neglected their duty of care and farmers will be insisting on compensation. Or the GM companies? GM companies know their product is uncontrollable and has the potential to cause economic loss. Like any other company, they must be held accountable for any losses caused by the introduction of their product. If you think liability is an unfair burden to the GM industry, why do you think those farmers not wanting to grow these crops should accept this liability? If GM crops are to be introduced, work out a way where they do not impact negatively on others. Australia must integrate a strict liability clause to both State and Federal Acts.
Julie Newman - Network of Concerned Farmers

GM canola creates foreign customer concerns - ABC Queensland, Monday, 18 July 2005 -
Australian canola crushers are fielding a large number of inquiries from concerned overseas customers since the identification of genetically modified (GM) canola in an export shipment. Grain exporter ABB Grain Limited detected low levels of GM seed in a small consignment of canola sourced from Victoria. Pete Macsmith from Macsmith Milling in New South Wales says the Japanese in particular have been sending a lot of emails. "A mountain of it would maybe be the best way to describe it," he said. "I don't think panic is the right I say they are just looking for some confirmation as to how this occurred, is it going to occur in the future, they just want to know the state of play....I mean that is what this is all about at the end of the day is that whatever part in the supply chain you fulfil, it's about giving them what they want, otherwise none of us have a market."

MP calls for restraint in GM food crop testing - Monday, 18 July 2005 -
The Member for Tamworth, Peter Draper, is warning the New South Wales Government against any further testing of genetically-modified (GM) food crops across the State. Mr Draper says the contamination of Victorian canola seeds with GM material should send a clear message to the Government to maintain extreme caution. He says the Victorian case illustrates how GM contamination could jeopardise export markets. He says while he fully supports the GM technology in fibre crops such as cotton, he urges the Government to be careful with other trials. "But when we are at risk of losing our very valuable export market I think the NSW Government needs to be extremely cautious in any future trial of GM technology in this state."

Farmers ask why GM crops perform worse in drought -
The Network of Concerned Farmers, an alliance of farmers with concerns regarding genetically modified crops, are calling for research to determine why GM crops perform worse during droughts. "There is more than enough evidence to reveal that GM crops perform worse than non-GM crops during drought conditions but this vital information is being ignored," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers. "Farmers worldwide have complained that GM crops perform worse than non-GM crops during drought including GM cotton in India and Indonesia, GM soy in the United States and Brazil and GM canola in Canada. Australian farmers have even stated that they use an additional irrigation for GM cotton so it appears there is evidence that GM crops need more water," she said. "Our Federal Minister for Agriculture is making outrageous statements wanting states to ignore economic risk and claiming we need GM crops to counter drought when reality shows GM crops perform worse in drought. Australia is known for adverse conditions and may be totally unsuitable for GM crops but nobody seems to care about this vital detail."
There has recently been a significant drop in soybean production due to the drought in Brazil. The president of the Rio Grande do Sul seed association cites 25% higher crop losses in GE soy crops as compared with conventional ones. Brazil's agricultural department estimates that yields are down 72% in Rio Grande do Sul which is the biggest adopter of Monsanto's Roundup Ready GM technology. "Many Brazilian farmers who use Round-Up Ready soy will be thinking twice about it next year," said Etienne Vernet, South American Research Director of the Polaris Institute. Governor of Mato Grosso (25% of national soy production) has publicly stated that he will not plant genetically modified soy next year.
Monsanto and Bayer Cropscience withdrew from the proposed independent trials in NSW in 2004 with Bayer Cropscience stating a concern for dry conditions as a reason. Requests for further independent testing has been denied but Bayer Cropscience has been growing canola under irrigation for export to Canada under special state exemption orders. "Farmers need trials to compare GM performance during adverse conditions and scientists need to investigate this further. Farmers have had enough of the bulldust, we need facts." Non-GM drought tolerant varieties of wheat are being grown in Australia. Mrs Newman claims there are far better alternatives in non-GM biotechnology but some scientists are more interested in attracting corporate investment so are misleading farmers to believe all biotechnology is GM.
Contact: Julie Newman 08 98711562 or 08 98711644 or 0427 711644 - Network of Concerned Farmers -

Western Australia GM crops moratorium to remain - Friday, 1 July 2005 -
Western Australian Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says the Government has no intention of changing its stance on genetically modified (GM) crops. Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss has called on the states to end the ban on the cultivation of GM crops, saying it is discouraging investment in biotechnology. Mr Chance says there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered about GM crops and WA's moratorium will remain in place. "I can see no reason to change our present position, indeed we want to understand a lot more about the advantage and disadvantage with respect to GM and in particular in relation to market advantages and disadvantages," he said.

GM crop trials worry Democrats - Tuesday, 21 June 2005.
The Australian Democrats are alarmed at the approval of another licence to conduct a genetically modified (GM) crop trial in South Australia. The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator has given Bayer CropScience approval to plant a limited release of GM indian mustard in the state's south-east. Democrats' MLC Ian Gilfillan believes there is still a lot of opposition among South Australians to the introduction of GM crops. "Let's bear in mind consultation doesn't necessarily mean that the people you consult agree with what you're doing and the councils in the south-east have in the past been vehemently opposed to the planting of GM crops in their local government areas," he said. "So just because people say they have consulted does not mean that they have got public support."

The Case for Strict Liability - Enough of the GM bulldust! -
The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) today released a comprehensive presentation titled "Beyond the Bulldust of Genetically Modified Crops - the Case for Strict Liability" in both DVD and video format. The presentation details the specific GM benefit, alternatives, risks and the risk management needed to manage this controversial crop. "We have given specific referenced detail why agronomically and economically GM canola will fail to benefit Australian farmers," said Mrs Newman, the author of the presentation and national spokesperson for the NCF. "We have also explained how and why GM crops are being rammed down the throats of farmers and reluctant consumers."
The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF), an alliance of conventional and organic farmers throughout Australia are pushing for fair risk management as they wish to maintain the right to market an uncontaminated consumer preferred non-GM product. These farmers are insisting on a strict liability regime to ensure farmers are compensated by the GM companies for any economic loss associated with GM crops.
Despite the West Australian moratorium banning the commercial release of genetically modified crops, there has recently been Federal GM wheat trials planted in Corrigin, WA. Farmers themselves are the main investors in this technology through a company called Council of Grain Growers Organisation (COGGO) who have funded the development of a GM salt tolerant wheat.
"Our wheat customers do not want GM wheat or any trace of it and yet it is possible that pollen could remain viable for up to half an hour on the wind. These trails need wind buffers in order to prevent pollen travelling duringflowering time." "If the GM companies were liable for economic loss, they would be far more careful." "Greed, ignorance and arrogance is no excuse to deny fair risk management. There are good reasons why consumers are rejecting GM products but if farmers do not have a choice, consumers will not either," explained Mrs Newman.
The launch was held at Parliament House in Perth and farmers have commenced distributing the presentation to key politicians and others involved in the GM debate with an aim to influence both State and Federal legislation to adopt a strict liability regime.
Contact: Julie Newman - West Australia 08 98711562 or 08 98711644

GM cotton costs up 20% - 03 June 2005 -
Some Queensland cotton growers are considering abandoning the genetically modified Bolgard cotton because of a significant price increase. Monsanto confirms that it will be putting up the cost of its GM seed by at least 20 per cent which growers believe will eat into a forecast price rise for the fibre. Monsanto says it always intended to charge a higher price after the trial period of the new two-gene resistant cotton was completed. Monsanto says the reduction in a farmers' chemical bills will outweigh the increased cost of seed.
GM cotton seed price rise - Report: Angus Peacocke (In this report: Steve Ainsworth, Monsanto's commercial manager; Hamish Millar, Emerald-based cotton farmer).
Source: ABC Queensland

I won't eat GM food: Minister - by Eloise Dortch - The West Australian, May 3, 2005 [via ABIX via COMTEX via agnet]
Western Australian (WA) Agriculture Minister, Kim Chance, has, according to this story, publicly stated he would not eat genetically modified (GM) foods. Chance said he did not feel comfortable eating GM foods because not enough is known about the health effects. Chance noted that despite these concerns WA should maintain scientific knowledge of GM crops, and expressed support for the trial of GM salt-tolerant wheat at Corrigan that was recently approved by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. WA Opposition agriculture spokesman, Paul Omodei, said Chance's comments appeared contradictory.

Australia Struggles to Win Support for GMO Crops - Mar 10, 2005 - By Michael Byrnes
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Consumer opposition in Australia last month forced its three biggest poultry producers to stop using imported, genetically modified feed to fatten the 450 million birds they put on the market each year. Inghams, Bartter-Steggles and Baiada changed course after thousands of letters, faxes and telephone calls from angry consumers in a campaign spearheaded by Greenpeace. It was a clear win for the anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) campaign. "It would not have happened without a hell of a lot of people doing a lot of leg work, writing and calling the companies," said Bob Phelps of GeneEthics Network. He is a long-time opponent of genetic engineering.
The Australian government, meanwhile, has sought to convince people to embrace GMO. "Greenpeace's recent campaign to intimidate Australian poultry producers
into excluding GMO soy from feed had no basis in science," Agriculture Minister Warren Truss told Reuters. Australia's poultry industry is relatively small and caters mainly to the domestic market. But for canola, it is the second biggest exporter, after Canada.
Concern from state governments has blocked Australia from growing its first commercial GMO canola crop, although the federal government approved it for commercial release in December 2003. Most provincial governments have the bans in place until 2006, with some extending the bans until 2009. State bans are based on concerns that GMO canola would jeopardize Australia's exports of conventionally-produced canola. Phelps said the decision to stop the use of GMO feed for chickens, which can be fed canola meal, would make it even more difficult for the ban on commercial GMO canola to be lifted. But federal government officials said the country's farmers would suffer in the longer term because they were falling behind their counterparts in other key farm commodity producing nations. "How much longer can Australian farmers compete if unscientific state bans on genetically modified organisms deny access to higher yielding, pest- and disease-resistant, drought-tolerant plant varieties?" Truss said.
Farmers said it is difficult for them to learn whether there is a viable market for genetically modified canola abroad unless they grow such crops. "State governments want answers to trade questions if they are to change the moratoria. But if we have the moratoria that don't allow us to grow anything, how do we generate data to answer the questions?" asked Paula Fitzgerald, executive director of farmer-backed group Agrifood Awareness.
U.S. biotech giant Monsanto Co., which pioneered GMO crops in Australia by introducing a transgenic cotton crop eight years ago, pulled out of trials on GMO canola in Australia late last year. A company spokesman said it was waiting and watching developments. Its rival Bayer CropScience, meanwhile, is continuing with trials on about 100 hectares of land. "We're not really able to predict commercialization," said Susie O'Neill, general manager of the science division for Bayer CropScience Australia.
A variety of industry and scientific organizations are conducting field trials for GMO rice, grape vines, sugarcane, pineapples and some other crops. But trade analysts said the prospect of these crops moving close to commercial production is even more remote than it is for canola. Australia's importance in the GMO debate is mainly as a producer. Its
cotton crop is now 80 percent GMO. "There's a lot going beyond the basic glass house-and-lab work. The question is when they're scientifically at a point for commercialization," Fitzgerald said.

The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) has accused the Australian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Truss of being misleading in promoting GM crops. Mr Truss announced at the Victorian Rural Press Club that the state moratoria was hurting farmers stating "How much longer can Australian farmers compete if unscientific state bans on Genetically Modified Organisms deny access to higher yielding, pest and disease resistant, drought tolerant plant varieties?"
"Mr Truss knows the State bans are due to economic risk and as the Federal Minister for Agriculture, he has a duty of care to Australian grain growers to ensure that any GM introduction is economically more viable and will not threaten the viability of existing industries. Not once has the Federal Minister taken the initiative to provide unbiased performance data or attempt to resolve the unfair liability issues, " said Mrs Julie Newman, NCF National Spokesperson. "There is no scientific reason why GM canola would be any better than our existing non-GM hybrids or chemical resistant canolas. The varieties concerned are Invigor and Roundup Ready canola and both are only genetically modified to be resistant to chemicals. Forget the hype, that is it."
Monsanto withdrew trial applications last year and today Bayer Cropscience announced they would not participate in independent performance trials. Bayer Cropscience are currently growing large "trials" in South Australia and Victoria to bulk up seed to export to Canada. "Of course the companies do not want independent data, real trail data would expose the scam." said Mrs Newman. The NCF believe that the Federal government is under pressure from the US and GM has become a trade issue. "The US has polluted their agricultural area with a product consumers are rejecting and they want to share their problem so consumers do not have a choice and this will help them avoid market rejection. Our Minister for Agriculture is too keen to sacrifice the economics of the Australian rural areas to satisfy the US and to avoid political pressure from earlier committments to scientists and GM companies."
Conventional and organic farmers not wanting to grow GM crops do not want to suffer economic loss caused by market rejection of GM contaminated produce. The NCF state the GM debate could be resolved by introducing strict liability legislation to ensure the GM company is liable for any economic loss associated with the introduction of their product. "With the advances in non-GM biotechnology, farmers will not be "left behind". The GM race is not for farmers, it is for scientists and investors keen to stake a claim in intellectual property so they can profit from farmers in the future."
Canada has adopted the largest area of GM canola and this week farmers in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been protesting against depressed
incomes. Over 7,000 farmers marched in Ontario calling for increased subsidies due to rising costs and falling commodity prices.
Contact: Julie Newman, WA 08 98711562 or 08 98711644
Monsanto's Roundup Ready canola -
Bayer Cropscience Invigor canola -

GeneEthics has published locations of Bayer's secret genetically manipulated (GM) canola releases in Victoria. Four Western District sites threaten the GM-free products of farmers and beekeepers. "The Department of Primary Industries gave us the locations on Friday, when our Freedom of Information challenge was on appeal to VCAT, " says GeneEthics Network Director, Bob Phelps....Our appeal was set to succeed, so the government handed over the GPS co-ordinates of four releases:
* Mokepilly Rd, about 25 km North of Horsham
(photos at;
* 25 km SW of Horsham - about 12 km South of Natimuk;
* near Antwerp, about 20 km North of Dimboola; and
* near Branxholme, about 25km SW of Hamilton," he says.
"Until now, the number, location and size of these sites was hidden from the many primary producers who may be adversely affected by GM pollen and seed contamination," he says....Victorian secrecy was irrational as the Office of Gene Technology Regulator and the South Australian Government both publish the locations of Bayer GM crop sites under their control," he says. "The pretext for secrecy, that sites may be damaged, has proven to be completely unfounded," he says. "We now want Agriculture Minister, Bob Cameron, to permanently ban further GM crop releases in the state because of the economic, social and legal dangers they pose to organic, dairy, honey and oilseed producers," Mr Phelps says. "Exemptions from Victoria's Control of Genetically Modified Crops Act 2004, which allowed Bayer to secretly grow GM canola, broke government promises to ban all GM food crops until 2008," he says. "This betrayed the United Dairy Farmers of Victoria decision, at their annual meeting last year, to endorse the GM ban because of strict GM-free rules now required by dairy companies," he says. "For organic growers, detection of GM pollution in their products can mean de-certification, lost income, or responsibility for the extra costs of rejected shipments or product recalls," he says. "Many honey producers must certify that their bees have not been closer than 5km from a GM crop, impossible to guarantee when GM sites are secret," he says. "The Victorian government must not betray its GM-free promise again," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 (O) 03 9830 1592 (H)
Bob Phelps, Executive Director, GeneEthics Network, Level 1, 60 Leicester St, Carlton 3053 Australia - Tel: 03 9347 4500 {Int Code +613} or 1300 133 868 - Fax: 03 9345 1166 - Email: -

Poultry giants quail at gene food protests - By Kirsty Needham, Consumer Reporter - Sidney Morning Herald, February 11, 2005
A consumer backlash against genetically engineered food has prompted the three largest poultry companies, which produce 80 per cent of chicken sold in Australia, to stop using GE feed. Inghams, Bartter Steggles and Baiada are expected to announce today that they will phase out the use of imported genetically engineered soy. The decision has been described by Greenpeace as "a major win for consumer power", and follows thousands of phone calls, faxes and letters to the poultry companies.
A Greenpeace campaigner, John Hepburn, said the importation of 300,000 tonnes of genetically engineered soy by poultry companies was "the biggest single source of GE contamination of the Australian food chain". "The poultry industry is to be congratulated for responding to public concerns," he said.
Under the Food Code, poultry fed with genetically engineered soy does not have to be labelled as such. But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled in December that it was misleading for companies to label the same poultry as "GE free" or "not genetically modified", and told them to change their packaging. Mr Hepburn said the commission decision's had "put quite a lot of extra pressure" on the chicken companies, but the catalyst for the move to non-genetically engineered feed was the consumer backlash.
Nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton said it was "good news to find the poultry industry was responding to concerns raised by consumers, public health and environment advocates".
In September the Food Standards chief executive, Graham Peachey, told a food industry conference that genetic engineering had failed to capture public interest, and a government survey of consumer attitudes showed half of those surveyed did not want to eat it.

Monsanto suspends GM canola programs - 12th May , 2004 - Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Agribusiness giant Monsanto has pulled the plug on its genetically modified (GM) canola breeding programs in Australia following a series of state moratoriums on the practice.
Monsanto's spokesman Mark Buckingham has confirmed investment in the canola programs will be suspended.
"We have made a business decision to suspend our investment in Roundup Ready canola in 2004," he told AAP.
"We have done that because of the patchwork of different regulations across the states that have created an environment of commercial uncertainty."
Mr Buckingham said Monsanto would now divert canola investment into other business opportunities in the region where there was a higher degree of certainty.
But he said the situation would be reviewed in 2005 and could change if there was a "significant change" in the environment across the states in the future.
"We will review the position but there would need to be a significant change in that environment of uncertainty across the states for us to proceed next year," he said.
"Our concern is around the moratoriums. The imposition of inconsistent and restrictive trial conditions between states and the delay in trial approvals."
The suspension follows a NSW government ban on a 3,000 hectare trial of GM canola last month.
It allowed three smaller research trials to test different varieties of the crop against conventional canola.
Western Australia and Tasmania have both banned GM crops, while Victoria extended its moratorium in April on the technology by four years.
South Australia also has a moratorium in place.

Australian States Reject GM Food Production - No GM food production this year Australia is set to remain a GM free food producer for another year. Even if a first GM crop variety gains approval later this year, there will be no-where to plant it............ .

Australian farmers fear future without GM food ban,2763,981122,00.html - The Guardian, Friday June 20, 2003.

Sydney, Australia, Thursday 8th May 2003: Australia will remain free from genetically engineered (GE) food crops for at least another year, following the announcement today of a freeze on the commercial release of GE canola, by yet another state government. The twelve month freeze by the southern state of Victoria, now means all major Australian canola growing states have imposed some form of moratorium on the commercial release of the country's first proposed GE food crop, for 2003. Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner John Hepburn said, "Despite the failure of our national regulatory system, state governments have thankfully listened to the majority of farmers and to the general community who are opposed to the introduction of GE canola". The Victorian decision comes as a major blow to applicants Monsanto and Bayer, who have lobbied strongly for the release of their GE canola products. As one of the world's largest exporters of canola, Australia is seen as a key area for expansion of GE crops, which are reported to be struggling to find acceptance outside North America and Argentina. "Australia currently only allows the commercial planting of GE cotton and GE carnations", Mr Hepburn said. "However, canola is proposed as the first commercially grown GE food crop in this country". Greenpeace says that consumer rejection of GE foods in Australia continues to grow. "Studies consistently show that up to 70% of Australians are concerned about eating GE food", Mr Hepburn said. "And many major Australian food companies have responded by removing GE from their supply chains"."Strong opposition to GE canola has also emerged from conventional and organic farmers", Mr Hepburn continued, "and from some of Australia's largest grain groups, including the Australian Wheat Board and Barley Board - who are concerned about contamination of export crops, identity preservation costs and liability issues". Mr Hepburn described the national freeze on GE canola as "a victory for common sense". "GE crops are a pariah both domestically and on world markets. It is not in Australia's economic interest to introduce GE canola, nor is it in the interests of the community", Mr Hepburn said. "GE food crops are clearly unnecessary, unnatural and unwanted".

Victoria May Ban GM Food Crops for 12 Months, Weekly Times Says, By Jason Gale, Melbourne, May 7 (Bloomberg)

The Victorian government may ban the release of genetically modified food crops for a year while the state considers issues relating to storage and handling and contamination, the Weekly Times said, citing a farm lobby. The possibility of a moratorium, which would stall sales of Bayer AG's gene-altered canola in Victoria, has been raised at the past two meetings of senior state government lawmakers, the report said. John Brumby, Victoria's state and regional development minister, declined to comment, according to the newspaper. Victorian Farmers Federation President Paul Weller said the government would probably make an announcement this week. ``We've put the case continually that our farmers need to have access to thelatest technology,'' the report quoted Weller as saying. The possible sale restrictions come after Australia's biotechnology regulator last month released a plan for public comment on the commercial release of genetically modified canola, moving the nation's A$10 billion ($6 billion) grain industry a step closer to its first GM food crop. Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer and St. Louis-based Monsanto are seeking the commercial release of canola that's been genetically modified to make it tolerant to certain herbicides.


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