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[genet-news] CONTAMINATION & COEXISTENCE: Anger over GM mixing in Victoria and New South Wales (Australia)

                                  PART 1

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SOURCE: Weekly Times, Australia

AUTHOR: Lyndal Reading


DATE:   22.04.2009

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GENETICALLY modified canola will be binned with non-GM varieties in Victoria and NSW next harvest, in a move that has outraged an anti-GM group.

Bulk handler GrainCorp has changed its canola segregations in a bid to handle an estimated 100,000 tonnes of GM canola next harvest.

The changes mean Round-Up Ready GM canola will be binned with conventional, Triazine Tolerant and Clearfield canola varieties.

A separate bin, called CSO1A, excluding GM canola, will also be offered.

Network of Concerned Farmers spokeswoman Julie Newman said the changes would mean the end of Australia?s status as a non-GM supplier and would lead to extra costs for farmers.

?It?s the first stage of removing choice for farmers and consumers,? Ms Newman said.

Last season GrainCorp had specific GM-only bins at receival sites at Lubeck in western Victoria and Grenfell and Lockhart in NSW.

Less than 7000 tonnes of GM canola were received in Victoria last harvest. The grain was crushed and marketed by Cargill and Riverland.

GrainCorp corporate affairs manager David Ginns said that under the new segregations the mix bin including GM canola would be known as CSO1 and would be going into general trade, either domestic or export.

?We no longer segregate GM to everything else,? Mr Ginns said.

However, he said some customers wanted a guarantee that the grain they bought was not GM.

He said the threshold for the CSO1A bin would be less than 0.9 per cent.

?There?s a set process to verify that it is non-GM grain, to provide a guarantee to the customer,? Mr Ginns said.

?The grains will be subject to additional testing and will be subject to an additional fee.

?If the marketers want people to deliver to that bin, then they should provide a price incentive to cover the additional cost.?

Ms Newman said the costs would be borne by farmers growing conventional canola.

?Non-GM farmers will now be inconvenienced if they have to deliver to another site and they will have to pay for the testing,? Ms Newman said.

?It?s up to the non-GM farmers to keep up the standards.?

She said the threshold of 0.9 per cent would not be acceptable for marketers wanting non-GM grain.

She said the trigger for labelling a product as containing GM material was 1 per cent.

?The 0.9 per cent threshold is too high. It should be zero,? Ms Newman said

?The domestic markets can?t put labels on there saying they?re non-GM, if they have a 0.9 per cent threshold.?

                                  PART 2

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SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia



DATE:   27.04.2009

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A central western New South Wales farmer says Graincorp?s decision to blend genetically modified (GM) canola with conventional varieties in this year?s harvest is ludicrous.

The bulk handler will offer a separate bin for customers wanting GM-free canola, but it allows a threshold of 0.9 per cent GM grain.

Arthur Bowman from the Concerned Network of Farmers says it confirms it is impossible to have proper segregation.

He says Graincorp is trying to sell some of its GM crop underhandedly.

?I think it?s going to lead to mistakes and we?re ultimately worried about this liability problem,? he said.

?Once we start having mistakes in our product we?re going to be seen as not a reliable source to sell to overseas markets.?

Mr Bowman says it puts farmers in a difficult position.

?The laws ought to prevent them from doing that, just using this 0.9 per cent is ludicrous,? he said.

?They?re going to then want more and more like they did in Canada.

?Canada started off on a very low add mix and eventually they found it was impossible to segregate and that?s how it took over the whole of Canada.?

                                  PART 3

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SOURCE: The Islander, Australia

AUTHOR: Shauna Black


DATE:   23.04.2009

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Japanese canola buyers visiting Kangaroo Island this week have reaffirmed the importance of Kangaroo Island remaining free of genetically modified crops.

Representatives of Kanematsu Industries were on the island this week to further cement their relationship with the island?s canola growers and to encourage more growers to grow canola for their discerning Japanese consumers.

A breakfast for about 40 people at the Aurora Ozone Hotel on Monday included business, primary production and industry leaders.

The group also heard Kanematsu leaders speak about further trade with the island?s producers in areas such as honey, wine, grains and seafood.

Masahiko Ohkita said the group was looking for new sources of soybean as genetically modified crops encroached into its US and Canadian supply chains.

Canola grower Neil Pontifex said island producers had a golden opportunity.

?We already have the market. We need to expand and invest to make the most of it,? Mr Pontifex said.

The island produces about 10,000 tonnes of canola now but he could see 50,000 tonnes grown here, which would mean $100 million to the island economy.

Kanematsu funding partner Shigemi Hirata, of Hirata Industries, said no one would buy the canola if it was genetically modified.

His company was also thinking about a future canola crushing plant on the island, silos and storage.

?But we must take one step at a time. The first is to develop a strong relationship,? he told the audience through an interpreter. ?We love to hear valuable ideas from the people on this island.?

Mr Pontifex said one of the challenges for the island?s canola growers was to find a complementary crop for the canola rotation.

?We?re negotiating our freight rates at the moment and confident they will be lower than last year,? he said.

Member for Finniss Michael Pengilly offered to bring Agriculture Minister Paul Caica to the island to discuss the state moratorium on genetically modified crops.



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