Press Release



Greens MP Lynn MacLaren’s media release Hail storm unleashes more genetically modified canola contamination 11 November 2011 is misleading and sadly lacking in factual evidence.  This appears to be yet another emotive publicity stunt by anti-GM crusaders.


GM canola is a safe, approved and legal product.  The overwhelming weight of evidence points to GM crops being safe for human health and the environment. 


Here are a few kernels of truth for Ms. MacLaren to ruminate on:

- Given that Ian James’s neighbour only seeded 50hectares of GM canola, the alleged ‘about 100 tonnes’ is a convenient fictitious figure.  Why would Ms MacLaren have published such a figure without first speaking to the GM producer involved? 


- Mr James can rest easy about marketing his non-GM canola crop.  Because of common sense standards (a 0.9% GM tolerance threshold for non-GM canola deliveries), he will not be negatively impacted in the marketplace.


- As a progressive farmer himself, Mr James will understand that any unwanted or unintended seeds – domesticated grains like wheat, oats, barley, GM or non-GM canola, traditional annual and perennial weeds, or native vegetation seeds, whether from his own farm or a neighbouring property - would still have to be dealt with after the standing crop is harvested.  There is a diverse range of herbicide and non-herbicide options to kill various kinds of weeds, including GM and non-GM canola.


- Contrary to what Ms MacLaren claims, there is no “string of contamination incidents.”  In fact, in the single allegation of contamination in this state no legal filings have occurred. 


- While Ms MacLaren cries wolf with verbiage like “Minister Redman is risking our markets and our farmers’ livelihoods by introducing GM canola with no safeguards in place” the truth is 70,000 hectares of GM canola were grown in WA last year; non-GM canola was sold into Europe without penalty and marketers continue to offer good money (over $500/tonne!) for both GM and non-GM canola. 


- If the destroyed crop happened to be wheat or TT canola, nothing would be said.  This is an opportunistic use of the misfortune of one farmer to advance a campaign against GM technology.


Farmers operate in nature where there is no such thing as ‘zero tolerance’.  There is always some impact from our neighbours.  Usually the impact is low-level and is ignored within the unspoken “live and let live” understanding.  Occasionally the impact is more significant and producers deal with each other directly or in rarer cases, through a court of law.  Inputs and products moving between properties is not new.  It has happened since humans put the first seed in the ground over 6,000years ago.


It is a pity that some in our society seem to resent all human advancements since then.


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