GENET archive


2-Plants: Update on GE contamination in Australian canola

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  WA Govt wants tougher GM tests on imported seed
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DATE:   7 Sep 2005

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WA Govt wants tougher GM tests on imported seed

Western Australian Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says more stringent
tests are needed on imported seed to ensure there is no threat to the
state's non-genetically modified (GM) status. Cooperative Bulk Handling
says scientific tests carried out in Europe on WA canola show there is no
GM contamination to the assessable limit of 0.1 per cent. Mr Chance says
he is relieved at the test finding but says a better legal framework is
needed to protect WA in the event of future contamination. He says
improved tests are needed to ensure imported seed does not contaminate WA
grains. "When we import seed which is intended to be used in a breeding
program, we clearly need to go to a higher level of testing to make sure
that we have as near to absolute certainty as possible that there is no
adventitious presence of a GM construct," he said.

                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Govt pressured to identify GM-tainted canola
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DATE:   6 Sep 2005

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Govt pressured to identify GM-tainted canola

A new case of pure canola seeds being contaminated by genetically
modified (GM) varieties is putting pressure on the Victorian Government
to find the source of the contaminations. Incidents have occurred in
Victoria and Western Australia, and last week in South Australia. The
Network of Concerned Farmers' Wimmera spokesman, Geoffrey Carracher, says
the State Government should hurry up their investigations. He says a
"contamination exit strategy" must be developed. "You clean up and if you
can find the seed that's caused it, to spray that out now so that it
doesn't contaminate this year's crop, and so that we get back to our GE
[genetic engineering]-free status," he said. "We can't have contamination
and expect the non-GM farmer to pick up the cost of it because there'll
be reduced opportunities for the sale of our grain."

                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  No contamination found in WA canola
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DATE:   6 Sep 2005

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No contamination found in WA canola

Western Australian canola has retained its GM-free status after detailed
testing found no trace of genetically modified (GM) seed. Initial tests
on canola samples received and stored in WA during the last harvest
indicated the possibility of contamination, raising fears the state's GM-
free status could be in jeopardy. But Cooperative Bulk Handling says
subsequent tests undertaken in Europe identified no GM contamination.
Scott Kinnear from the Australian Certified Organic group says it is good
news but the threat posed by GM crops remains. "Last week the Australian
Barley Board revealed that South Australian commercial canola was
positive for GM trace amounts similar to Victoria so that in itself is
still of some concern," he said. "What it does is put a shadow or a cloud
across the GM-free status of Australian grains." Mr Kinnear says the
Government must do more to protect the state's GM-free status. "State
governments must now look at amending legislation to ensure that seed
companies are held liable and accountable for any commercial seed they
sell to farmers, that when there's a moratorium in place that seed must
be GM-free, the seed companies must have evidence in the form of highly
sensitive testing to prove that their products are GM-free," he said.

                                 PART IV
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Contamination with GM canola may have come from germ plasm
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, by Annabelle Homer
DATE:   5 Sep 2005

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Contamination with GM canola may have come from germ plasm

Let's continue to look into the issue surrounding the GM contamination
events that have occured in Victoria, Western Australia and more recently
South Australia. Samples of the genetically modified canola known as
Topaz 19/2 have been found in all three states; a variety that has only
been trialed once, back in 1998 in Tasmania. A national taskforce
convened by the Australian Oilseeds Federation has been formed to try and
find the likely source of the contamination. Nothing has been ruled out,
but the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator claims it's highly
unlikely the contamination has come from GM trials. One scenario that's
being investigated is the importation of germ plasms from North America
where most of the gene work is done. Technical Manager with Pacific Seeds
Graham Smith, says there's a possibility genetically modified organisms
can be crossed with conventional varieties at the early stages of
breeding. In Mid July, when the first shipment of canola seed, grown in
Victoria, was found to have low levels of genetically modified seed in
it, the Country Hour spoke with BayerCropScience's, General Manager
BioScience, Susie O'Neill. In that interview Ms O'Neill told us the gm
variety topaz 19/2 had been grown in trials at Horsham in 1997. So when
we heard the variety was grown in trials in Tasmania, we contacted Bayer
for some clarification. Ms O'Neill informed us "subsequent investigations
by Bayer Cropscience have revealed that the variety topaz 19/2 was NOT
grown in trials in Horsham, or indeed anywhere in mainland Australia."
Bayer have confirmed the variety was trialled in Tasmania, but was not
able to say exactly where.

In this report: Graham Smith Technical Manager with Pacific Seeds

                                 PART V
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM contamination found in canola sample
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
DATE:   1 Sep 2005

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GM contamination found in canola sample

Another case of genetically-modified (GM) contamination has been found in
canola, this time in South Australia. ABB Grain has been randomly testing
canola samples, with a positive result in Topaz 19/2, a variety that has
not been trialed since 1997. The traces are at very low levels under
international standards, but it is the third detection within months,
following cases in Victoria and Western Australia. ABB Grain's Maggie
Dowling says the discovery has not created any trading barriers with
Japanese customers. "The levels that this 19/2 present was well below the
threshold and the fact it was approved in Japan and now that they have a
full understanding of that," she said. "We have confirmation of extremely
low levels in many samples. They're much more comfortable and going
forward just keeping them informed on the national investigation, that's
the important thing just to keep communication channels open and keep
them informed."


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