Letters to the Australian newspaper The Age
EXTRACT: 'As a consumer, I do not want to eat GM food. As a taxpayer, I will be responsible for fixing any problems that occur with it in future. As a scientist, I am seriously worried about the potential health and environmental risks of GM crops. As a father, I am concerned at the legacy this decision will leave for my children. As a voter, I am cynical this has been announced in the aftermath of a federal election.' (item 1)
1.Genetically modified crops
Letters, The Age, 29 November 07 [via Agnet]
Dr Susan Hawthorne, research associate, Victoria University, writes that Premier John Brumby is purveying the idea of choice as a rationale for ending the moratorium on genetically modified crops. When governments give in to corporations it is not choice, but rather the erasure of sensible decision-making.
The end of the moratorium marks an irreversible decision to change the nature of farming in Victoria. The growing of GM crops means that Victoria will no longer be able to claim clean, green status - ever. Instead we will drink milk produced by cows fed on GM stock feed; it will be unclear which foods are GM and which not, since contamination is inevitable. Where is our choice in that?
Lindsay Bussau of Carnegie writes that as a consumer, I do not want to eat GM food. As a taxpayer, I will be responsible for fixing any problems that occur with it in future. As a scientist, I am seriously worried about the potential health and environmental risks of GM crops. As a father, I am concerned at the legacy this decision will leave for my children. As a voter, I am cynical this has been announced in the aftermath of a federal election.
Helen Coath of Coburg, writes there are 65 documented health risks associated with the consumption of genetically modified crops, and yet the states of Victoria and NSW have elected to end the ban on GM crops. It is ironic that this occurred the same day that Bernie Banton, who campaigned against asbestos company James Hardie, died. Once again the known negative health effects are being ignored for the sake of profits.
2.Genetically modified crops
Letters, The Age, 30 November 07 [via Agnet]
Rod Oaten, Carlton North, writes that our crash-through Premier will crash all right if he continues with anti-environmental dredging and promoting GM crops.
Indra Liepins of Glenroy writes that public-private partnerships for state schools, the GM crops decision and now the Koori school in doubt! Who does John Brumby think he is? John Howard?
Helen Lewers of Napoleons writes that Sir Gus Nossal who tried to help US-based company Pangea Resources set up toxic nuclear waste dumps for the rest of the world in SA and WA is now on a mission to assure us that GM canola is safe!
Robert Vickers, Nyora, writes that like the cigarette smoker imposing their side-stream pollution on unwilling neighbours, NSW and Victoria are now to inflict their genetically modified contamination on neighbouring states. Unlike passive smokers, the offended states have no redress and cannot move away.
Pat Lester, Ringwood, writes that strewth, if we get it wrong about about GM, we'll all come a flaming cropper!
Liz Spillane, Heathcote, writes if genetically modified canola is so safe, then we need legislation that requires products using these crops to be labelled appropriately so that the consumer can make a choice when buying food at the retail outlet, whether that be the supermarket, restaurant or other point of sale.
Greg Revell, North Warrandyte, writes that Chris Preston's faith in Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) about the safety of GM food is misplaced (Letters, 29/11). FSANZ does not perform any scientific testing of its own whatsoever for GM foods. It merely assesses the submitted data from GM companies against the very vague notion of substantial equivalence. If the GM food looks, smells and tastes like its non-GM counterpart, then it is approved as safe, no further questions. It is on this basis alone that GM foods are determined as having no health risks - hardly rigorous and science-based. On the contrary, Chris Preston, it is FSANZ, in cahoots with the Victorian Government and industry, that does a disservice to farmers and consumers alike.
3.Genetically modified crops
Letters, The Age, December 1 2007
Good decisions require all the facts
RE: THE letter by Max Rheese from the Australian Environment Foundation in support of genetically modified foods (Letters, 30/11), it is not surprising that the AEF favours GM foods; it also supports the proposed pulp mill in Tasmania and nuclear power, and questions the extent of global warming.
I do not agree that the introduction of GM canola will be a benefit to Victorian farmers. In fact, experience in other parts of the world shows that the problem of genetic drift often contaminates the crops of farmers who don't want anything to do with GM foods. One Canadian farmer was successfully sued by Monsanto after GM pollen had fertilised his crops.
No mention is made of the stark commercial reality that it is very difficult to sell GM canola. Nobody wants to buy it, so the price that a farmer can get for GM canola is lower than for conventional canola. I note that both Goodman Fielder and Coles supermarkets are opposed to Mr Brumby's decision to end the moratorium.
At present, all decisions about the safety or otherwise of GM foods are based on facts supplied by the multinational companies that own the technology. This is hardly conducive to good science or proper decision-making by government.
Stephen Clendinnen, North Warrandyte
Who are the AEF?
MONSANTO is a multinational corporation that licenses GM crop technologies. It also funds the Institute of Public Affairs, which created the Australian Environment Foundation. Max Rheese, executive director of the AEF, writes letters talking up GM crop technologies. I wonder why?
Jason Leske, Pomona, Qld