The Australian Greens have today expressed concern about GM crops in WA after Kojonup farmer Stephen Marsh’s property lost organic certification as a result of contamination by neighbouring crops of genetically modified canola.
Australian Greens Agriculture spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert says the contamination further highlights a range of problems and concerns linked to the growth and sale of GM products in Australia.
“We’ve heard today about a farmer suffering a potential loss of income through no fault of his own, because a GM crop contaminated his property,” Senator Siewert said.
“The contamination of non-GM farms and loss of organic certification has been a serious risk since the Barnett Government first permitted the planting of genetically modified crops. Why should other farmers bear the cost imposed by farmers who grow GM crops?
“Greenpeace have also raised concerns about the WA Government’s failure to test for GM presence in food, which makes it impossible for consumers to know if the food they buy has been genetically modified.
“I’m very concerned that the WA Government is not taking this issue seriously and The Greens will be continuing to monitor this as part of our work towards better food labelling laws.
“Senator Nick Xenophon and I have introduced the Food Standards Amendment (Truth in Labelling - Genetically Modified Material) Bill 2010 to the Senate, which would see Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) introduce standardised labelling for all genetically modified material and the development of due diligence guidelines for products making a 'GM free' claim,” said Senator Siewert.
“There is a serious need to examine the ways in which we label foods containing GM ingredients. Of course in order to better label products, there is a need to ensure they are tested properly.
“This contamination problem highlights the problems WA faces in coming years if issue of GM foods is not appropriately addressed,” concluded Senator Siewert.