GMO news related to Australia

07.08.2019 |

Tasmania's GMO ban good news for some, a 'missed opportunity' for others

THE Tasmanian Government has extended its ban on the introduction of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) into the island state until 2029.

Tasmania introduced a moratorium on the release of GMOs in 2001 and has been conducting a review since December last year.

The State’s Agriculture Minister, Guy Barnett, announced the extension of the moratorium today.

The Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association (TFGA) has welcomed the decision to extend the GMO moratorium for another 10 years.

TFGA chief executive officer, Peter Skillern, said the state’s GMO-free status remained an important component of the Tasmanian brand and assured the state’s agricultural products had access to markets that prohibited GMO products.

“Many intentional markets such as the European Market demand GMO-free products, Tasmania is well placed to enhance and expand our footprint in these large lucrative markets with this announcement,” he said.

“The State Government and Minister Guy Barnett are to be commended for providing surety to the sector and recognising the benefits in maintaining the moratorium and at the same time committing to regular reviews of developments in this area.”

05.10.2018 |

Stop Monsanto shredding the rules on GMOs

Australian families risk eating untested, unlabelled genetically modified (GM) food – including animal products – because federal agencies which should be protecting us have sided with the biotech industry and are proposing to deregulate a range of risky new GM techniques.

Powerful, clear scientific evidence shows the potential risks that these new GM techniques pose. It’s vital that organisms produced using these techniques are assessed for safety before being released into our environment and supermarkets.

16.08.2018 |

Councils urged to suspend use of Roundup or face risk of legal action

COUNCILS should ban the use of Roundup or risk being sued by employees and residents if their health is affected, say action groups.

The call comes in the wake of a landmark lawsuit in the United States in which a jury found chemical giant Monsanto liable for causing a school groundsman’s cancer from his exposure to the weedkiller.

The active chemical in Roundup – glyphosate –is classified as probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation but is still approved for use in Australia.

07.08.2018 |

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) as Invasive Species

Abstract

This paper frames genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as invasive species. This offers a way of considering the reception, diffusion and management of GMOs in the foodscape. “An invasive non-native species is any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live” (NNSS, 2017). Without any social licence, pesticide companies have thrust GMOs into the foodscape. The release of GMOs has generally been unwelcome, there has been no ‘pull’ factor from consumers and there has been vocal resistance from many. The apologists for GMOs have argued the self-contradictory conceit that GMOs are ‘same but different’. Under this logically untenable stance, GMOs are to be excluded from specific regulation because they are the ‘same’ as existing organisms, while simultaneously they are ‘different’ and so open to patenting. GMOs are patented and this demonstrates that, prima facie, these are novel organisms which are non-native to the foodscape. GMO apologists have campaigned intensively, and successfully in USA, to ensure that consumers are kept in the dark and that GMOs remain unlabelled - as a consequence GMOs are ubiquitous in US consumer foods. In contrast, in Australia GMOs are required to be labelled if present in consumer products and, in consequence, Australian food manufacturers do not use them. The release of a GMO calls for biosecurity measures. After trial plots of Monsanto GM canola in Tasmania in the 1990s, the sites continue to be biosecurity monitored for GMO escape, and volunteer canola plants continue to appear two decades later. In Western Australia the escape of GMO canola into a neighbouring organic farm resulted in the loss of organic certification and the monetary loss of the organic premium for produce. GMO produce sells for a 10% discount because of market forces and the consumer aversion to GMOs. Where non-GM product is accidentally contaminated with some GM grain, the whole batch is discounted and is sold as GMO. There is a lack of evidence that GMOs can be contained and many jurisdictions have banned the introduction of GMOs. GMOs have the potential and the propensity to contaminate non-GMO crops and thereby devalue them. The evidence is that GMOs are invasive species, they are unwelcome by consumers, peaceful coexistence with non-GM varieties is a fiction, and GMOs are appropriately managed as a biosecurity issue.

09.07.2018 |

Rats fed GM stacked-trait maize developed leaky stomachs

Rats fed a triple-stacked trait GM maize engineered for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance developed leaky stomachs, according to a new peer-reviewed paper by Australian researchers.

In the experiment conducted by Irena M. Zdziarski of the University of Adelaide, Judy A. Carman of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research (IHER), and John W. Edwards of Flinders University, the rats were split into two groups of 10 males each.

One group was fed on the GM stacked-trait maize, containing Monsanto Bt insecticidal toxin traits MON863 and MON810, and glyphosate-tolerant trait NK603, for six months. That's twice as long as the typical rat feeding study performed by industry for regulatory authorisations. The GM maize was grown in the US.

The other group of rats was fed for the same amount of time on the control diet, which contained a commercially-grown non-GM maize grown in Australia. The control maize was not sourced from the US due to the difficulty of finding a non-GM corn variety from that country that would be uncontaminated with GM genes.

24.02.2018 |

Could WA be the genetic testing ground for 'synthetic mice' to end mice?

Louise Sales, a campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth, rents a desk at the back of an Edwardian brick building in Hobart. It was there in November that she opened an email to find a trove of digital documents - 1200 emails, contracts and meeting minutes.

"I was shocked," said Sales, who trained as a biologist, with a masters degree in biodiversity and conservation. "And then outraged. But I'd already started to smell a rat."

Months before, an article at The Conversation had described new gene technologies that offered "a humane, targeted way to wipe out alien pest species such as mice … Conservationists are understandably excited."

Sales wasn't. The documents in her inbox, from a Freedom of Information request by an NGO called Third World Network, described a proposal to release "synthetic rodents" on six Western Australia islands and two US sites in the Pacific.

09.12.2017 |

GM crop farmers may be held liable if they contaminate other properties

Western Australian growers of genetically modified crops may be held liable if they contaminate non-GM properties and produce in future.

An upper house standing committee parliamentary inquiry is examining compensation mechanisms for farmers who lose money because of contamination from genetically modified material.

Earlier this year, Greens MLC Diane Evers tabled a petition calling for farmer protection legislation to compensate any non-GM farmer who suffers a loss from GM contamination.

The petition was sparked by the Marsh versus Baxter case, where an organic farmer unsuccessfully sued his neighbour for GM canola contamination.

07.12.2017 |

WA farmers could get compensation for cross-contamination of genetically modified crops

West Australian farmers whose crops are contaminated by genetically modified material could soon receive compensation for economic losses.

The standing committee on environment and public affairs will conduct a parliamentary inquiry into possible compensation schemes for costs incurred by farmers in cases of GM cross-contamination.

The inquiry was sparked by a petition from European consumer rights organisation Foodwatch, submitted by upper house Greens member Diane Evers in January.

“WA farmers should not lose their right to sell non-GM crops at a higher price due to the actions of another grower,” Ms Evers said on Thursday.

She said the committee had stated its intention to consider broader matters outside the terms of the petition.

16.11.2017 |

Genetically-modified crop ban extension in South Australia to 2025 passes Upper House by single vote

South Australia is set to extend its controversial ban on the growing of genetically-modified crops until 2025 after a bill put forward by the Greens passed the Upper House by a single vote.

The current ban will expire on September 1 in 2019 and was due to be debated later next year, but the Greens surprised the State Parliament with its motion to extend it for another 6 years.

The bill is also expected to pass the Lower House, and Greens leader Mark Parnell said when that happens the State's farmers will be the big winners.

"There are a lot of farmers in South Australia who are nervous about the (GM) technology, and what the marketing evidence shows is that there is a price premium for not growing GM crops," he said.

01.06.2017 |

GM-Free Shopping List
GM-Free Shopping List

New GM-Free Shopping List out now

The 2017 edition of the GM-Free Shopping List, published today, includes many brands not listed in earlier editions.

The GM-Free Australia Alliance (GMFAA) has further reported increasing interest from food producers this year to the demand for groceries free of genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs).

GMFAA spokesperson Jessica Harrison stated that the Shopping List acknowledges and promotes a growing list of brands whose GM-free status caters to consumers' right to choose non-GM foods. “Australians passionate about the right to choose have been voting with their wallets. Growing consumer awareness about genetic manipulation is increasing demand for both conventional and organic foods, supporting their producers and adding to market pressure on food producers to choose non-GMO suppliers".

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