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COEXISTENCE: Study examines potential impact of GM canola onorganic sectors in Australia



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Study examines potential impact of GM canola on organic sectors
SOURCE: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://www.abareconomics.com/corporate/media/2007_releases/
10may_07.html
DATE:   10.05.2007
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Study examines potential impact of GM canola on organic sectors

The commercialisation of GM canola in Australia is likely to have only
negligible direct impacts on the organic canola, livestock and honey
industries according to a new ABARE report.

The report, Potential impacts from the introduction of GM canola on
organic farming in Australia, was released today by Phillip Glyde,
Executive Director of ABARE.

The report investigates the potential economic impacts of the
commercialisation of GM canola in Australia on domestic organic
agriculture, and looks into the treatment of GMOs in organic
certification standards in Australia and in Australia's main organic
trade partners.

Certified organic agriculture has grown rapidly in recent years, but
remains a small market providing food to those who want to avoid
potential chemical residues and GM material.

'Australian organic standards tend to be more stringent than those in
our export markets. Therefore, Australian certified organic products are
likely to continue to be accepted in export markets if GM canola is
introduced in Australia. However, the stringent domestic requirements
may reduce Australia's price competitiveness,' Mr Glyde said.

'The organic standards require that crops be isolated from non-organic
crops and products, including both conventional and GM canola. Planting
GM canola in place of conventional canola would therefore have minimal
impact on organic canola,' Mr Glyde noted.

'The impact on organic honey is likely to be minimal for the same reason
-- current standards require that bees do not forage on conventional crops.'

The organic livestock industry was found to use a range of organic
feedstuffs, and the lack of organic canola crushing in Australia over
the past few years suggests that organic canola meal is not an important
component of organic livestock feed rations.

'The introduction of GM canola would therefore appear to have minimal
impact on the organic livestock industry,' Mr Glyde explained.

However, Mr Glyde cautioned that the introduction of GM varieties of
other crops that are more extensively grown in Australia as certified
organic may have a different impact.

In releasing the report, Mr Glyde acknowledged funding under the
Australian Government's National Biotechnology Strategy.


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Organics industry rejects GM canola crop report
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia
AUTHOR: 
URL:    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/2006/s1920636.htm
DATE:   11.05.2007
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Organics industry rejects GM canola crop report

The organics industry has rejected a report which suggests they would
not be greatly affected by the growing of commercial genetically
modified (GM) canola crops in Australia. The Australian Bureau of
Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) says organic canola farmers
already have to separate their crops from canola grown with the use of
pesticides. But Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) spokesman Andre
Leu disputes ABARE's conclusion that export markets would accept a low
level of GM contamination in organic products. "There are no markets
around the world that will allow products to be called organic if they
have a level of contamination from GM products, so organic growers would
lose their premium on the market," he said.


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                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  GM impact on certain organic industries minimal: report
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia
AUTHOR: 
URL:    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1919486.htm
DATE:   10.05.2007
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GM impact on certain organic industries minimal: report

A new report has found the the use of genetically modified (GM) canola
would have a negligible impact on the organic canola, livestock and
honey industries.

The report prepared by the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
(ABARE) says that is partly because certified organic crops in Australia
are required to be isolated from their non-organic counterparts.

The bureau's Lisa Elliston says the situation is similar with honey.

"The current organic standards require that bees do not forage on
conventional crops," she said.

"So replacing conventional crops with GM canola isn't likely to add an
additional restriction.

"In terms of analysing the organic livestock industry, we found that
organic canola meal is not currently an important component of organic
livestock feed rations."

But Ms Elliston has stressed that the findings are limited.

"It's really important to note that the conclusions are based on the
introduction of GM canola and that introduction of other GM crops might
have a different impact on these organic sectors," she said.

"We were specifically looking just at the organic canola livestock and
honey industries and the certification standards for those particular
industries."

But an organic producers organisation has criticised the report.

Scott Kinnear, from the Biological Farmers Association, says the report
contradicts itself by stressing that the cost of avoiding crop
contamination is beyond its scope.

"So if you're not going to quantify the costs, how can they then draw a
conclusion that the impacts of GM canola are negligible on organic
canola production," he said.

He says it is a whitewash report to try and remove a hurdle to the
introduction of GM canola.


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