Major grain buyers snub GM canola
1.Buyers snub GM canola
2.Concern as GM canola hits the shelves
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1.Buyers snub GM canola
Stock and Land, 15 October 2009
MAJOR canola purchasers CBH and Elders will not be buying GM canola this season, in a nod to the market sensibilities of major customers in Europe and Japan.
Europe has only just relaxed moratoria on buying GM canola seed and is unlikely to buy any GM this season due to a big harvest, while Japan prefers non-GM from Australia, even though most of its imports come from Canada, the largest GM canola producing nation in the world.
However, growers of GM will still have a market for their product, with large domestic crushers such as Cargill and Riverland buying GM crop, and marketers such as GrainCorp offering prices for the product.
It is expected there will be a $5-15 discount for CS01, which includes GM lines.
On Tuesday, a GrainCorp representative said the spread was $10/t, with CS01A, non-GM canola, on a base price of around $400/t, a discount of 2.5pc.
The pricing spread may effect non-GM growers nearest to sites offering the CS01 segregation, with reports that buyers wanting non-GM not wishing to buy from sites co--mingling GM and non-GM segregations for fear of contamination.
CBH regional manager for south-eastern Australia Georgina Whiting said her company’s decision reflected the desires of its domestic customers.
"At this stage CBH is opting not to buy GM canola, because we understand our domestic customers would prefer not to have it," Ms Whiting said.
"We deal with a number of dairy and stock feed customers on the domestic level."
She said this not reflect a conscious stance on the GM issue on CBH’s behalf.
"Overall, CBH is neither pro, nor anti-GM; we are a member of the Australian Oilseeds Federation, which supports market choice for growers."
Ms Whiting said there were markets for GM canola in Japan, China and the subcontinent, but that Europe was traditionally more sensitive to GM imports.
"We understand Europe will now allow GM seed for the first time this year, but will probably not need to import any, due to its big harvest," she said.
2.GM canola hits the shelves
Stock and Land, 14 October 2009
FOR the first time, locally produced genetically modified canola is entering our food chain.
From oils to margarine, baby food to snacks, muesli to dairy products, GM canola oil can be found in many processed foods, but consumers are oblivious to what food it is in.
A report released by Greenpeace last September said there was only one year left to stop the potential GM contamination of canola, and tonight, as part of the Sydney International Food Festival, a public forum will explain its concern about GM foods.
The forum, called "Out of the Frying Pan" will hear from the food writer and activist John Newton, the author Dr Carole Hungerford, the Greenpeace campaigner Rochelle Porteous and the chef Alex Herbert.
Ms Porteous said the risk of locally grown GM canola becoming part of Australia's oil supplies was a critical issue.
She said there were concerns about health problems, sustainability and biodiversity, apart from agricultural contamination. "There hasn't been any long-term tests on the impact on human health," she said.
"There have been a number of studies that have shown GE food to have serious health impacts on the immune system.
"We have studies that show over 90 per cent of Australian consumers want to know exactly what's in their food."
Alex Herbert, from Bird Cow Fish in Surry Hills, is one of more than 180 Australian chefs to sign the Genetically Modified Free Chefs Charter opposed to serving genetically modified or engineered foods in their restaurants.
The charter calls on the Federal Government to legislate for the compulsory labelling of all GM foods, as well as encouraging the NSW Government to reinstate its suspension on growing GM canola.
Ms Herbert said as the long-term implications of planting GM crops were unclear, people should not rush to plant something which may have negative consequences in 10 or 15 years.
The author of Good Health in the 21st Century, Dr Carole Hungerford, said there could be health implications for gut bacteria if GM food was consumed regularly.
"I believe that man's ingenuity can sometimes outrun his common sense," she said.
"The genes from GM foods can get into the gut bacteria and the gut bacteria is the most critical thing.
"Sixty to 90 per cent of your immune system is in your gut."
Dr Hungerford said the best defence against the increase of allergies and auto-immune deficiencies was to keep gut bacteria healthy.