GM contamination rampant at canola spill site
2.GM crops could be an issue in NSW
1.GM contamination rampant at canola spill site
Gene Ethics, 15 August 2011
Williams farmer Geoff Reed has seen flocks of parrots feeding on GM canola seed outside his front fence in Williams, WA [Western Australia]. The seed, spilled last week, is now germinating on the roadside after rain. Mr Reed has lived on the 400 acre farm all his life.
"My non-GM and no-chemical production systems are threatened by the GM seed, spread by birds and humans," says Williams sheep and cropping farmer, Geoff Reed.
"The authorities and their contractors scooped up the GM canola seed spilled last week but they obviously didn't get it all.
"A bobcat [mechanical excavator] spread what was left on the roadside with soil and the GM seed is already germinating along at least 50 metres of road at my fence line.
"Me and my neighbours wanted to stay GM-free but our worst nightmare is now outside our front gates. We want real action not promises.
"What practical steps will Redman, the state government, CBH and our Shire council take to protect my land and income?
"All the GM canola seed and soil on the roadside must be removed in the next two weeks to prevent more contamination when the seed germinates. Parrots have been busy spreading it too so it may already be on our farms."
Gene Ethics director, Bob Phelps says: "This is a long term problem as the Gene Technology Regulator confirms that GM canola seed can germinate for up to sixteen years. GM trial sites grown in 1998 are still being monitored and decontaminated.
"Minister Redman is dozing at the wheel and Monsanto which owns the seed is missing in action.
"We have also had confirmation today of GM canola weeds along a major NSW [New South Wales] road," Mr Phelps concludes.
Bob Phelps, Director, Gene Ethics, 03 9347 4500/0449 769 066
Geoff Reed, WA farmer, 0428 569 124
Janette Liddelow, WA farmer, 0439 851 138
2.GM crops could be an issue in NSW
ABC, 15 August 2011
Some NSW farmers are concerned about a truck fire in WA last week, which resulted in 15 tonnes of genetically-modified canola spilling across the Albany Highway.
The truck was travelling through an area where at least 12 farmers are growing non-GM canola in a bid to access the Japanese market.
The grain was being carted by a private contractor on behalf of CBH, and the bulk handler now says it's now cleaned up the site and will continue to monitor the area for the next six to eight weeks.
At the NSW Farmers Association annual conference a couple of weeks ago, a motion was passed that called for another examination of the GM contamination issue.
The motion also called on the association to further investigate the issue of insurance claims and coverage for GM contamination of non-GM canola crops.
Gai Marshall, a farmer from Berrigan, spoke to the motion at the conference and says the news from WA and the truck spillage does concern her.
She says if something similar happened in NSW, losses would be more than $100 a tonne if non-GM crops or organic farms become contaminated.
"In addition, we've got GM contamination along the whole length of the Newell Highway and GM canola all along the Riverina highway, where they are carting GM, and we're having to continually spray our property," she said.
"Former ALP minister Ian Macdonald said the government would have protocols in place for GM transport, but that hasn't happened."
On the issue of insurance, she says: "We were told there was insurance, but those growing GM will need higher insurance and we are finding a lot of people becoming hesitant to grow GM, as they aren't getting the results they had hoped for, or were promised."