S. Australia stands firm on GM canola ban
2.Pig-headed pro-GM Australian States
EXTRACT: "The South Australian, Tasmanian and ACT governments are listening and we congratulate them on extending their GM crop bans. They have unique marketing opportunities by remaining GM-free as their customers want." (item 2)
The matter will not become an election issue when South Australia goes to the polls on March 20 either, as the State Opposition has said it supports the ban. (item 1)
1.SA stands firm on canola ban
Paul Sellars & Peter Hemphill
Weekly Times, February 10 2010
THE South Australian Government has rejected calls to follow Western Australia's lead and lift its ban on genetically modified canola.
The matter will not become an election issue when South Australia goes to the polls on March 20 either, as the State Opposition has said it supports the ban.
The West Australian Government's decision last month to lift its ban on the commercial production of GM canola left South Australia as the only mainland state not to sanction the technology.
The end of the West Australian moratorium immediately prompted Victorian Agriculture Minister Joe Helper, farm groups and university experts to call on South Australian Premier Mike Rann to follow suit.
But a Government spokeswoman said the ban would remain in place.
"The moratorium is an important plank in the State Government's strategy to market South Australia as a producer of clean, green and safe food products," she said.
Former South Australian Farmers Federation grains chairman Jeff Arney said the ban prevented growers accessing new-generation canola varieties.
"There are always people who will be opposed to GM, but not everyone," Mr Arney said. "The GM canola would be useful. I can't understand the ban."
Meanwhile, Swinburne University has published a report on a 17-month-old survey of consumer attitudes to GM food.
The university randomly surveyed 1000 people in September 2008, asking them how comfortable they were with genetically modifying plants for food.
On a scale of zero to 10, with zero being "not at all comfortable" and 10 being "very comfortable", the average score was 3.9.
One of the study's authors, Michael Gilding, said there had been little change in consumer attitudes for five years.
Prof Gilding said the study showed the problem for the GM food sector was a lack of trust in the institutions responsible for its commercialisation.
However, an annual survey released by CropLife Australia said a survey by Food Standards Australia New Zealand found little consumer concern about the safety of GM foods.
CropLife Australia, which represents groups including Monsanto, Bayer CropScience and Nufarm, said consumers were more concerned about the fat, sugar and salt content of their food.
2.Pig-headed pro-GM Australian States:
India Rejects GM Eggplant
Gene Ethics, 10 February 2010
The Indian Government has banned the growing of genetically manipulated (GM) eggplant. The ban will remain until independent scientific studies satisfy the public and experts that the crop has no long term negative impacts on human health and the environment.
"This is a stunning victory for India's precautionary approach to GM crops," says Gene Ethics Director Bob Phelps.
"Their fair and democratic approach to all sides of the GM debate is a shining example.
"It contrasts starkly with the pig-headed stance of the Commonwealth, NSW, Victorian and WA governments that actively promote GM technology and its products while ignoring the concerns of most shoppers, here and around the world.
"The South Australian, Tasmanian and ACT governments are listening and we congratulate them on extending their GM crop bans. They have unique marketing opportunities by remaining GM-free as their customers want.
"Influencing the Indian decision was the whistle-blown by Tiruvadi Jagadisan, a former Monsanto Director, who publicly disclosed that the company had faked scientific data to gain regulatory approvals.
"This confirms recent charges laid in Scientific American and Nature Biotechnology, that the GM industry withholds its products from independent research and does not allow negative findings to be published.
"It also casts doubt on the validity of assessments made by the Australian regulators of GM crops and foods - Food Standards Australia NZ (FSANZ) and the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR)," he says.
"Australian regulators base their approvals for GM canola, cotton, soybean and corn varieties on the same company-generated evidence as that discredited overseas. Many GM foods that are approved and on supermarket shelves here were judged to be unsafe by regulators in India and Europe.
"Australia's regulatory regime is not precautionary enough and a thorough overhaul is needed urgently so that applicants must submit genuinely scientific and independent evidence for exhaustive assessment.
"We call on Minister Roxon and Butler to be begin a review immediately," Mr Phelps concludes.