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2-Plants: Deliberate GM contamination in New South Wales (Australia)



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TITLE:  Deliberate GM contamination in NSW
SOURCE: The Network of Concerned Farmers, Australia, Press Release
        http://www.non-gm-farmers.com/news_details.asp?ID=2300
DATE:   26 Jul 2005

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Deliberate GM contamination in NSW

The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) have revealed evidence of GM
canola contamination in New South Wales. The Federal Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) funded research undertaken by
CSIRO that involved deliberately contaminating 140 tonne of non-GM canola
with GM canola.

"GM canola is meant to be banned because of the risk to our industry but
it was deliberately bought into New South Wales and added to our non-GM
canola," explained Juliet McFarlane, NCF spokesperson and farmer from Young.

CSIRO were contaminating a series of 10 tonne truckloads of conventional
canola with both 0.5% and 2% levels of GM canola sourced from Bayer
Cropscience to assess testing regimes. The contaminated seed was handled
by Graincorp who sold it to an unnamed buyer somewhere in Australia.

"Where did the GM seed come from and where did the 140 tonne of
contaminated canola end up?" she asked.

"Whilst we have assurance from Graincorp that strict protocols were
adhered to during transport, we have no idea how the GM has been treated
after delivery. Was is crushed, were all the seeds destroyed or could
there be GM canola growing on a farm somewhere?"

"The NCF accept that trials of this nature must take place, and are
indeed a priority, but we do not accept the secrecy and the lack of
transparency. This is our industry and our crop and until moratorims are
lifted, there is an expectation that there is both respect and protection
of both our industry and our livelihoods. "

t is not yet known if the NSW State Government knew about this trial and
was a party to the disposal of the GM canola.

"Both participants, the CSIRO and the Graincorp have a vested interest in
the uptake of GM technology and should not have the freedom to do what
they like with our GM-free status," said Mrs McFarlane.

Although Federal governments have released GM canola based on health and
environmental assessment, State governments have banned GM canola as they
have the authority to assess economics and markets and have identified a
risk. There is a section in the NSW Act that prevents canola being grown
in NSW and then being onsold for commercial gain. Mrs McFarlane is also a
member of the NSW Advisory Council advising the Minister on GM related issues.

"Did the State government give permission for this and why wasn't the
Advisory Council told?" she asked.

"If this canola has been grown in Australia in the trial areas in other
states, the Federal government has deliberately broken a State law. If
this canola has been imported, it shows how vulnerable farmers are to
sabotage of Australia's GM-free image and could explain how the
contamination in Victoria occurred.

Contact: Juliet McFarlane 02 638 22509




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