1.Shoppers want choice on GM food
2.New poll: 9 out of 10 Australians want all GM food labelled
3.Tasmania profits from GM-free canola
1.Shoppers want choice on GM food
Canberra Times, 22 September 2008

When it comes to genetically modified food, an overwhelming percentage of Australian consumers say they want choice.
A Newspoll survey has shown nine out of 10 shoppers want the presence of GM ingredients clearly labelled on all food products.

Currently products with highly processed GM ingredients do not require specific labelling.

However, the Network of Concerned Farmers said the problem was more complex than labelling. ''There is no proper method for segregation and the test for determining whether or not a [non-GM] crop has been contaminated only gives a yes/no answer,'' spokeswoman Juliet McFarlane said. ''There's no way to tell the percentage of contamination.''

According to the survey, 54 per cent of respondents said they were less likely to buy a GM product, while only 2 per cent said they were more likely to buy it. Public Health Association of Australia chief executive Michael Moore said since the embargo on GM crops was lifted in NSW and Victoria this year, ''the labelling of foods containing GM ingredients is not something Labor has wrestled with''.

The NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Ian McDonald, said, ''There's no credible research that proves GM food impacts on the health of the consumer any differently than non-GM food.''
2.New poll: 9 out of 10 Australians want all GM food labelled
Greenpeace, Sept 22 2008

Sydney: A Newspoll survey released today shows that 90% of Australians want better labelling of food products that could contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients (1)

According to the survey, when asked if food products from GM crops and animals fed with GM feed should or should not be labelled, 90% of the respondents said "it should be labelled". Only 2% of the respondents said they were more likely to buy a product "if they knew" it contained GM ingredients, as opposed to majority of 54% who said they were less likely to buy it.

Michelle Sheather, Greenpeace genetic engineering campaigner said "it is very clear that Australians want to avoid GM food and want it clearly labelled. However, glaring loopholes in our current labelling laws do not leave shoppers with a choice"

Current laws exempt oils and products from animals fed GM feed from being labelled. GM canola is now being grown in Victoria and New South Wales for the first time in Australia and will slip into the food chain unlabelled through canola oil which is used in a wide range of products and as animal feed.

Michael Moore, CEO of Public Health Association of Australia said "It is really difficult to understand why there has been resistance to labelling of all genetically modified food.  It is appropriate for individuals to be able to make their own decisions about what they wish to consume. This is why labelling is a key element of any sensible policy on such foods"

Michelle added "NSW and Victoria are not using adequate procedures to segregate the GE canola from the conventional crop. This leaves food and feed companies as much in the dark as consumers".

Don Lazzaro, CEO of Pure Harvest, one of Australia's largest manufacturers and distributors of natural and organic food said "In response to consumer demand, labelling laws in Europe now require even highly processed GM ingredients like canola oil, and animal feed to be labelled. This shows that better labelling is practical and cost effective and most importantly, it gives consumers the information they need to make an informed choice."

Health experts and concerned groups have joined Greenpeace in launching a national petition demanding the comprehensive labelling and stringent safety testing of GM food (2).

Greenpeace:   GE Campaigner Michelle Sheather; 0417241371
Public Health Association of Australia:  Michael Moore (CEO) 0417 249 731
Pure Harvest CEO: Don Lazarro, 0419523293

Notes to Editors:

1. Newspoll surveyed 1,200 Australians aged 18+ 
2. The full Newspoll survey and summary can be found at:

3. The petition: GM food: Our right to know" can be viewed at:

So far 20 organisations including the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society and the State Conservation Councils have endorsed the petition.
3.Tasmania profits from GM-free canola
AllAboutFeed, 22 September 2008

The Tasmanian Greens have said that the decision by Roberts Ltd. to stop selling canola seed into the Tasmanian market was a clear signal that contamination of canola seed in Australia was a real issue for other states.

It also implicates that the biotech companies who promote genetically engineered (GE) crops and boast that GE crops and seeds can be securely segregated have misled the producers and consumers of Australia.

Greens Shadow Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth said that the upside of Roberts withdrawal was that there was a clear market opportunity for Tasmanian growers.

They could become a hub of GE-free canola seed production as well as promoting the island as an exporter of premium GE-free bulk canola.

This kind of differentiation was exactly the kind of value adding avenue that will sustain and nurture Tasmania’s agricultural sector, he said.

Government back-up needed

"Tasmanian farmers now clearly have a massive financial opportunity to become suppliers of the potentially lucrative 100% GE-free canola seed and canola for food consumption throughout the world, but the State government must come up with a strategy that will enable our farmers to seize this unique opportunity," Booth said.

Australia is one of twenty canola producers world-wide but only two grow GE canola, Canada and the USA. Just two countries trade canola internationally with Canada supplying around 70% and Australia about 30%.

"If Tasmania stands strong and maintains its GE-free status, with a zero threshold for GE contamination, and quarantine in place, Tasmania has the opportunity to be the GE-free canola seed developer and supplier to Australia and the world," Booth added.