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Greens protect farmers from GM contamination

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 24 Aug 2013

The Australian Greens have launched a new initiative to address the growing threat from big GM companies to our farmers, environment and consumer choice, to give farmers and consumers genuine choice and control over what they grow and eat.

"Despite decades of research and commercialisation, genetically modified foods have still not been proven safe and the promised benefits of GM crops are yet to be seen. The only people profiting from GM food and crops are the GM companies themselves," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on agriculture said today.

"The international demand for GM-free crops is growing, but the old parties are refusing to act to protect this important part of the agriculture sector.

"Non-GM farmers face market and economic losses when their crops are contaminated, inadequate assessments and labelling of our foods means that GM products can slip through loopholes and onto our plates.

"The Greens' plan to provide genuine choice and control over our food will see the creation of a GM Contamination Levy to protect farmers, establish an inquiry into the assessment procedures for GM crops and introduce comprehensive, mandatory labelling for all foods containing any ingredient, additives, processing aid or other constituent produced using GM.
"The Greens are the only party prepared to stand up and protect farmers and provide choice for Australian consumers," Senator Siewert concluded.

Ian James, Cunderdin farmer and Greens' candidate for Durack said today that the hard work that goes into remaining GM free can be totally undermined as the result of contamination, through no fault of the farmer.

"The choice to remain GM free is an important one for farmers and has a number of impacts for the prices we get for the food and crops we produce. When there is contamination, it's really hard to come back," said Mr James.

"The clean-up and retesting process is expensive and time consuming. On top of that you're losing money when the crops go to market and the value of your land can be compromised. It's a triple whack that we're not protected from," Mr James concluded.


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