Gene Ethics, February 14 2008 The annual industry review of commercial Genetically Manipulated (GM) crops for 2007 (See: http://www.isaaa.org/) again shows they stalled long ago.
'GM technology and its products are a dud,' says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.
'For yet another year, the ISAAA inflates growth in the GM industry, boosts adoption figures and ignores the negative health, environmental and economic impacts of GM crops.
'In 1996 GM soy, corn, canola and cotton were launched, with two new traits - tolerance to lethal weed killers or built-in Bt insect toxins but in 2008, just the same four crops and two traits are commercially available.
'Seven countries grew 97.5% of GM crops in 2007, the same as 2006.
'And five of those countries are in North and South America, where most GM crops are used for animal feed or biofuel production.
'No-one, anywhere, wants to eat GM foods and if they were fully labelled as they should be, GM food crops would not be grown.
'The number of countries that grew more than 50,000 hectares (500 square km) of GM crops fell from 14 in 2006 to 13 in 2007.
'A few other countries are dabbling in GM crops but drop them when environmental, animal and human health impacts appear.
'For instance, last year Iran cancelled its entire GM crop program.
'And Australia's cotton crop shrank from 220,000 hectares in 2005, to 134,000 in 2006, and about 60,000 hectares last year.
'GM is responsible for cotton's collapse as it follows the lifting of the 30% cap on GM cotton in 2005, when GM's share shot up to over 90%.
'Australian GM cotton is an ecological and economic failure.
'The global acreage of herbicide tolerant GM canola also stalled in 1999. The two GM producers - Canada and the USA - still grow less than 20% of the crop.
'In contrast, eighteen countries are GM-free and as Australia is the world's main GM-free canola exporter we sell it anywhere, at a premium up to $120.
'If the Victorian and NSW governments end their bans on herbicide tolerant GM canola, we'll be overrun by a plant version of the cane-toad. GM canola will exchange pollen with wild radish, turnip and charlock, making super weeds that can never be recalled.
'Ideology, not facts, are blinding our governments and scientists.
'The ISAAA is flogging a dead horse and our governments should continue to ban GM crops,' Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 or 03 9889 1717 (H)