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RISK ASSESSMENT & POLICY: Greenpeace protestors destroy Australian GM wheat trial



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GREENPEACE DESTROYS GM WHEAT

SOURCE:  Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia (ABC)

AUTHOR:  Jessica Naim

URL:     http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-14/20110714-greenpeace-gm-protest/2794272/?site=canberra

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Greenpeace protesters have broken into a CSIRO experimental farm in Canberra to destroy a crop of genetically modified wheat. In the early hours of this morning a group of Greenpeace protesters scaled the fence of the CSIRO experimental station at Ginninderra in the capital?s north. Greenpeace says activists were wearing Hazmat protective clothing and were equipped with weed string trimmers. They say the entire crop of genetically modified wheat has been destroyed. About half a hectare of GM wheat is being grown on the site, as part of Australia?s first outdoor trials. No genetically modified wheat strain had ever been approved for cropping in Australia before."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GREENPEACE DESTROYS GM WHEAT

Greenpeace protesters have broken into a CSIRO experimental farm in Canberra to destroy a crop of genetically modified wheat.

In the early hours of this morning a group of Greenpeace protesters scaled the fence of the CSIRO experimental station at Ginninderra in the capital?s north.

Greenpeace says activists were wearing Hazmat protective clothing and were equipped with weed string trimmers.

They say the entire crop of genetically modified wheat has been destroyed.

About half a hectare of GM wheat is being grown on the site, as part of Australia?s first outdoor trials.

No genetically modified wheat strain had ever been approved for cropping in Australia before.

Last month the CSIRO received permission to conduct Australia?s first trial in which humans will eat GM wheat.

The wheat?s genes have been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value.

Animal feeding trials of up to three months have been conducted, with human trials at least six months away.

Greenpeace says it has taken action because of concerns over health, cross-contamination and the secrecy surrounding the experiments.

Campaigner Laura Kelly says the Federal Government needs to put an end to testing GM wheat in Australia.

She says parts of the United States and many countries throughout Europe have already rejected the crop, and Australia should do the same.

?No one is looking after the health of Australians. Julia Gillard isn?t standing up to foreign GM countries to protect our daily bread so Greenpeace has to,? she said.

CSIRO chief director of Plant Industries Jeremy Burdon says the organisation is still assessing the extent of the damage.

He says it is a setback to an important global food security program.

?Until we actually know what the assessment comes out at it?s hard to say but if it sets it back by a year it?s a significant amount of effort by those people involved,? he said.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury used to work for Greenpeace and says he is not surprised the group has taken such action.

?It?s always very controversial these sorts of actions, but you have to stand up for what you believe in sometimes,? he said.

?Greenpeace has clearly formed a view that the best way to both draw attention to this issue and to potentially protect the human food chain in Australia is to take this action.?

Mr Rattenbury says Greenpeace has a track record of breaking the law to highlight problems.

?I?ve certainly been involved in action in the past where Greenpeace has broken the law and that has been necessary to highlight what we?ve considered at the time to be a greater issue than perhaps a simple trespass,? he said.

ACT police have confirmed they are investigating but have not released any further information.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   GM ACTIVISTS SHOULD BE PROSECUTED: COBB

SOURCE:  Stock & Land, Australia

AUTHOR:  Colin Bettles

URL:     http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/grains-and-cropping/general/gm-activists-should-be-prosecuted-cobb/2226701.aspx

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "SHADOW Agriculture Minister, John Cobb, says Greenpeace activists, who destroyed scientific trials of Genetically Modified wheat during an early morning raid on CSIRO facilities in Canberra this morning, should be prosecuted ?to the full extent of the law?. Mr Cobb has also slammed comments attributed to Canberra Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury, understood to be a former Greenpeace staff member, who said this morning on ABC radio that he condoned the actions of the Greenpeace activists and that sometimes the end justified the means."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GM ACTIVISTS SHOULD BE PROSECUTED: COBB

SHADOW Agriculture Minister, John Cobb, says Greenpeace activists, who destroyed scientific trials of Genetically Modified wheat during an early morning raid on CSIRO facilities in Canberra this morning, should be prosecuted ?to the full extent of the law?.

Mr Cobb has also slammed comments attributed to Canberra Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury, understood to be a former Greenpeace staff member, who said this morning on ABC radio that he condoned the actions of the Greenpeace activists and that sometimes the end justified the means.

Greenpeace activists, dressed in theatrical style protective clothing to create an impression the crops were a health risk, entered the CSIRO facility and used whipper snippers to destroy the approved scientific trials.

During the 6.30am raid, they also managed to take pictures of their actions which accompanied a media release issued this morning drawing attention to Greenpeace?s recently released GM wheat report.

A Greenpeace spokesperson said they could confirm only two activists were involved in the publicity stunt but reports have suggested up to four were involved.

The GM wheat report was released last week but has been widely castigated by grains industry representatives and government for making a range of misleading claims, including that the government had been negligent in approving the GM wheat trials.

Police are understood to be investigating this morning?s incident.

A Greenpeace spokesperson confirmed the activists entered the CSIRO facility illegally this morning and that it was now up to the police and CSIRO to make a decision on charges being laid, but they had not been contacted as of lunch-time today.

The Gene Technology Act 2000 under which the trials are conducted sets out a maximum penalty of two year imprisonment if found guilty of damaging or interfering with approved GM trials and associated facilities.

Mr Cobb said if the protestors have broken into the facility or entered unlawfully they should be prosecuted ?to the full extent of the law?.

?There?s never been any indication GM?s have caused health issues,? he said.

?Even if they were, this trial is being totally done under licence, legally and I hope the perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

?And if any elected member of the Australian Parliament at State or Federal level does condone this type of behaviour they should seriously consider their fitness for office.?

Agrifood Awareness Australia CEO, Paula Fitzgerald said Greenpeace had demonstrated with the launch of their GM wheat brochure last week that they knew ?very little, if anything, about farmers, agriculture and food production?.

Ms Fitzgerald said ?today?s stunt further proves this, potentially destroying years and years of research, plant breeding, data collection and outstanding science?.

?Greenpeace stunts - law-breaking activities with costumes - may have success in other parts of the world, but Australian agriculture recognises the need and potential of GM wheat R&D and supports this research moving forward,? she said.

?It is hard to believe that an ACT elected official, in a public position - Shane Rattenbury the Greens spokesperson and a former Greenpeace staff member - would condone the illegal behaviour of breaking and entering.

?The Australian grain industry is committed to ongoing communication and dialogue.

?This will not be achieved via people dressing up in costumes and potentially destroying years of responsible and costly research.

?CSIRO is a world class research organisation.?

Ms Fitzgerald said CSIRO scientists had already harvested the first GM wheat field trial at the Ginninderra research site that was broken into by Greenpeace this morning, in 1997.

She said CSIRO has been working in the field of cereal genetics for many years, delivering important new and improved varieties to Australian farmers.

?GM wheat is seven to 10 years away from commercialisation,? she said.

?There is ample time to have sensible discussions, but destroying good science and pulling stunts will definitely not achieve this.?

In its statement today, Greenpeace claimed the experiment was ?shrouded in controversy following revelations that Australia?s peak scientific body, CSIRO, planned human feeding trials and stonewalled information requests?.

?We had no choice but to take action to bring an end to this experiment,? said Greenpeace anti-GM campaigner Laura Kelly.

One of the activists, Heather McCabe, said in the statement, ?I?m sick of being treated like a dumb Mum who doesn?t understand the science?.

?GM wheat is not safe, and if the Government can?t protect the safety of my family, then I will.?

Mr Rattenbury?s office was contacted and Ms Kelly but they did not responded before deadline.

Greenpeace accused the Federal government of negligence in approving the GM wheat trials but in responding to Rural Press this week, the Gene Technology Regulator scotched the claims saying Australia had a ?robust and internationally respected regulatory system for gene technology?.

?Growing any GM crop in Australia is illegal unless it is approved by the Gene Technology Regulator,? a spokeswoman said responding to the negligence claim contained in the Greenpeace GM wheat report.

?The Regulator has approved eleven small GM wheat research trials and only after conducting a rigorous science-based risk assessment and extensive consultation.

?These trials are strictly controlled and monitored by the Regulator and information about them, including trial locations, is available on the OGTR website.

?There has been no breach of containment for any of these GM wheat trials and wheat from these trials cannot enter the human or animal food supplies.?

Government fact sheets also said the GM wheat trials, approved since 2005, are ?very small and are strictly for research purposes only?.

The trials are subject to strict containment conditions, including a requirement to monitor the trial sites after harvest and destroy any remaining GM material.

CropLife CEO, Matthew Cossey, also criticised the Greenpeace activists, saying the vandalism of GM trials was ?nothing but a short sighted attempt to garner publicity?.

?This is a dark day for Australian science and there can be no justification for this act,? he said.

?This type of activity from Greenpeace is unethical and morally questionable, especially when the world is facing the challenge of global food security.

?Reckless interference of this kind only delays valuable and essential scientific research.

?The exact purpose of these independent scientific trials was to assess and analyse the safety and potential of healthier wheat varieties critical to Australia?s agricultural future.

?It is hypocritical of Greenpeace to demand that governments act on the science of climate change and at the same time demand that government completely ignore and act against the science of biotechnology.

?Through these actions Greenpeace have reduced themselves to a 21st Century equivalent of the flat earth society, with their luddite destruction of scientific trials.

?Regulatory decisions need to be based on proven science, not on Greenpeace?s deception, falsehoods and half truths.?



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GREENPEACE TARGETS CSIRO CROPS

SOURCE:  Cosmos, Australia

AUTHOR:  Myles Gough

URL:     http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/4522/greenpeace-targets-csiro-crops

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "In the early hours of July 14, Greenpeace protestors gained illegal entry into an experimental CSIRO operated farm near Canberra and destroyed a crop of genetically modified wheat. Australia?s national science organisation had been growing GM wheat at its Ginninderra Experiment Station, and was recently granted approval by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, a government oversight agency, to begin human trials."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GREENPEACE TARGETS CSIRO CROPS

Greenpeace protesters donned white Hazmat suits to destroy a crop of genetically modified wheat at the CSIRO experimental station.

SYDNEY: In the early hours of July 14, Greenpeace protestors gained illegal entry into an experimental CSIRO operated farm near Canberra and destroyed a crop of genetically modified (GM) wheat.

Australia?s national science organisation had been growing GM wheat at its Ginninderra Experiment Station, and was recently granted approval by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), a government oversight agency, to begin human trials.

?Human trials were expected to begin sometime in the next few months to a year,? said Jeremy Burdon, chief of the division of Plant Industry at CSIRO. ?The worst case scenario now is that the [field] trial will have to be abandoned and resumed some time next year.?

The wheat?s genetic makeup has been altered to improve its nutritional value, said Burdon. Modifying the level of resistant starch could impact where the digestive process takes place in the gut, and could have health benefits for obesity and bowel cancer.

Greenpeace films destruction

Wearing white Hazmat suits that don the Greenpeace brand down each arm, the protestors used weed trimmers to methodically mow down the GM crops housed in the CSIRO?s compound, and filmed themselves in the act.

Greenpeace is citing fears that GM wheat crops are unsafe for human consumption and could spread unabated, contaminating Australia?s bulk wheat supply, as the reason for their action. The protestors created what the organisation calls ?a decontamination area? to dispose of the crops.

?The EU, Russia, and even North America have rejected GM wheat because it hasn?t been proven safe to eat,? says Laura Kelly, who heads the food and farming campaign for Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Kelly also claimed that the CSIRO ?is in bed with foreign biotech companies,? which she said stand to make billions of dollars by attaching patents to Australian wheat. She said this affiliation is compromising their research direction and adherence to safety regulations.

Australian regulation is stringent

According to Burdon, however, CSIRO would not proceed with any project it wasn?t entirely certain about. ?We?ve been down this road in the past, where we had a program around modifying legumes,? he said. ?That had a problem with activating some allergies in mice and we canned it - it didn?t go any further.?

?CSIRO takes very seriously its responsibility to safety around everything it does,? he added, noting that the OGTR regulations are incredibly strict and the CSIRO has carefully abided by all protocol as it?s moved through animal trials with its GM wheat.

Internationally, Australia has some of the most stringent guidelines and regulations surrounding GM work, agrees Andrew Jacobs, a genetic engineer with the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) at the University of Adelaide. ?The process to get to field trials is longwinded and rigorous? If there was a significant concern that sort of thing would get picked up well before human trials.?

?Wheat and barley are some of the most advanced GM plants in Australia,? Jacobs added. ?The ones proposed for field trials have probably been grown and monitored in a controlled environment for the last 10 years.?

Delay research without sabotage

Researchers involved in CSIRO?s field trials are frustrated about the attack on plants. ?There are enough natural postponements such as drought that delay this kind of biological research without adding to them,? said Burdon.

?As far as we?re concerned this is an outrageous incident,? said Michael Gilbert, general manager of the ACPFG. ?There?s no evidence that any of their claims are founded.?

Jacobs agrees. ?A single gene in the background of a plant is not going to have an effect on the overall quality of the grain in terms of any health concerns. And the notion that these crops will outgrow or out compete other species of wheat and barley is completely false.?

The Australian Academy of Science also condemned the crop destruction. ?For an organisation that claims to be dedicated to the protection of the environment, this is an unconscionable act,? said the academy president Suzanne Cory.

?This kind of mindless vandalism against science is completely unacceptable.?

No discussions

Greenpeace released a report recently called Australia?s Wheat Scandal: The Biotech Takeover of our Daily Bread, in which they cite their concerns over GM wheat.

?I?ve read through it and I?m amazed at the number of errors within it,? said Jacobs. ?I find it very disconcerting and frustrating that there putting this kind of information out into the public sphere.?

After learning about the organisation?s concerns, the ACPFG invited Greenpeace representatives to discuss the issues raised in greater detail, but according to Gilbert they?ve declined.

?The invitation is always open,? said Gilbert. ?I communicated with them after the report that there were a lot of problems ... a report is one thing, but trespassing and chopping someone?s field trial down to the ground is a criminal activity.?

Responsibility claimed, now what?

Greenpeace has claimed responsibility for the sabotage on its website, and has even published the name of one of the protestors, a mother concerned for the safety of her children. Heather McCabe was quoted as saying: ?This GM wheat should never have left the lab? GM wheat is not safe, and if the government can?t protect the safety of my family, then I will.?

?We are absolutely taking responsibility ... this mother was fully aware that it was an illegal action, potentially,? said Kelly, who noted that the organisation would stand by her through all stages of the resulting investigation and any criminal charges she may face.

Normally these kinds of acts would be liable for criminal prosecution because there is malicious intent to damage property, but you could apply terrorism laws as well, says Ben Saul, a professor of counter-terrorism law at the University of Sydney.

He says it technically fits the bill of a terrorist act, which under Australian law, is defined as an act of criminal violence intended to coerce the government for an ideological purpose. ?This was ideologically motivated, you could argue it was done to coerce the government to change its policy on genetically modified foods, and it was violent in that it destroyed private property,? he said. But whether terrorism charges are actually laid will be up to the discretion of police and prosecutors, he says. ?This would likely be seen as an excessive use of the anti-terrorism laws, which were ultimately not designed to interfere with a protest in a democratic society.?

ACT Policing received a formal complaint from CSIRO following the break-in, and have begun an investigation into the allegations. They have not yet released any additional information. The OGTR has also been notified and is conducting another investigation.



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GREENPEACE ATTACKS CANBERRA GM WHEAT CROP	

SOURCE:  Herald Sun, Australia

AUTHOR:  Australian Associated Press, Australia

URL:     http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/greenpeace-attacks-canberra-gm-wheat-crop/story-e6frf7jx-1226094372268

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "GREENPEACE activists have attacked a genetically modified wheat crop being grown at a CSIRO experimental station in Canberra. The group says the trial crop is part of a secret experiment which will involve human feeding trials later this year. Greenpeace said two of its members used whipper snippers to remove the wheat from a CSIRO site at Ginninderra in Canberra?s north early yesterday morning. The attack came after CSIRO denied a Freedom of Information request for more information about the trials."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GREENPEACE ATTACKS CANBERRA GM WHEAT CROP	

GREENPEACE activists have attacked a genetically modified wheat crop being grown at a CSIRO experimental station in Canberra.

The group says the trial crop is part of a secret experiment which will involve human feeding trials later this year.

Greenpeace said two of its members used whipper snippers to remove the wheat from a CSIRO site at Ginninderra in Canberra?s north early yesterday morning.

The attack came after CSIRO denied a Freedom of Information request for more information about the trials.

Greenpeace has called for the organisation to reveal what financial arrangements it has with GM companies such as the US-based multinational Monsanto.

?The only reason our CSIRO is putting it in the ground is because they?ve been bought out by foreign GM companies,? Greenpeace campaigner Laura Kelly told AAP.

Greenpeace claims CSIRO animal feeding tests show that there are risks associated with GM crops.

?They fed GM crops to mice and the mice displayed allergic reactions and failed to gain weight,? Ms Kelly said, adding the effect on humans was still unknown because it had never been tested.

Australia?s $4.7 billion wheat export industry was too important to hand over to foreign GM companies, she said.

Comment was being sought from CSIRO.



                                  PART 5

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TITLE:   GREENPEACE AUSTRALIA DESTROYS GM WHEAT OVER HEALTH CONCERNS

SOURCE:  Xinhua, China

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2011-07/14/c_13984797.htm

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Greenpeace protesters on Thursday broken into a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization experimental farm in Canberra and destroyed genetically modified wheat. Early on Thursday morning, a group of Greenpeace protesters scaled the fence of the CSIRO experimental station at Ginninderra in the Canberra?s north."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GREENPEACE AUSTRALIA DESTROYS GM WHEAT OVER HEALTH CONCERNS

CANBERRA, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Greenpeace protesters on Thursday broken into a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) experimental farm in Canberra and destroyed genetically modified (GM) wheat.

Early on Thursday morning, a group of Greenpeace protesters scaled the fence of the CSIRO experimental station at Ginninderra in the Canberra?s north. They claimed to have destroyed the entire crop of GM wheat in the raid, which began around 6:30 a.m. (AEST) Thursday morning.

Greenpeace said it has taken action because of concerns over health, cross-contamination and the secrecy surrounding the experiments.

According to Greenpeace Food campaigner Laura Kelly, the federal government needs to put an end to testing GM wheat in Australia.

She said parts of the United States and many countries throughout Europe have already rejected the crop, and Australia should do the same.

?No one is looking after the health of Australians. (Prime Minister) Julia Gillard isn?t standing up to foreign GM countries to protect our daily bread so Greenpeace has to,? she said in a statement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Australia Capital Territory Greens Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Shane Rattenbury citing Greenpeace?s long-held opposition to GM crops, saying that he is not surprised the group has taken such action.

?It?s always very controversial these sorts of actions, but you have to stand up for what you believe in sometimes,? Rattenbury, who used to work for Greenpeace, told ABC Radio.

?Greenpeace has clearly formed a view that the best way to both draw attention to this issue and to potentially protect the human food chain in Australia is to take this action.?

Rattenbury sayid Greenpeace has a track record of breaking the law to highlight problems.

?I?ve certainly been involved in action in the past where Greenpeace has broken the law and that has been necessary to highlight what we?ve considered at the time to be a greater issue than perhaps a simple trespass,? he said.

Police are investigating the incident.

About half a hectare of GM wheat is being grown on the experimental farm in Canberra, as part of Australia?s first outdoor trials.

Last month the CSIRO received permission to conduct Australia?s first trial in which humans will eat GM wheat.

The wheat?s genes have been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value.

Animal feeding trials of up to three months have been conducted, with human trials at least six months away.



                                  PART 6

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   ECO-ACTIVISTS DESTROY AUSTRALIA GM WHEAT CROP

SOURCE:  Agence France Press, France (AFP)

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gtLHYJKkSu2HuRHCBJ18Df6cooFg?docId=CNG.ba9f54e0e6c83f59a766bc1cfb28d661.501

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Environmental activists broke into an Australian government research farm Thursday and destroyed an experimental crop of genetically-modified wheat in protest at the project?s safety. Armed with weed trimmers, three Greenpeace activists scaled a fence at the Canberra facility in the early hours of the morning and razed the crop, which had been modified to lower its glycemic index. The government science agency running the trials, CSIRO, confirmed there had been ?a break-in overnight at their crop trial site? and it was assessing the damage."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


ECO-ACTIVISTS DESTROY AUSTRALIA GM WHEAT CROP

SYDNEY ? Environmental activists broke into an Australian government research farm Thursday and destroyed an experimental crop of genetically-modified wheat in protest at the project?s safety.

Armed with weed trimmers, three Greenpeace activists scaled a fence at the Canberra facility in the early hours of the morning and razed the crop, which had been modified to lower its glycemic index.

The government science agency running the trials, CSIRO, confirmed there had been ?a break-in overnight at their crop trial site? and it was assessing the damage.

?The police, and the government?s gene technology regulatory authority ... have been informed and are inspecting the site,? a CSIRO spokesman told AFP.

?CSIRO is currently assessing the damage to the trial crops and considering next steps.?

Greenpeace said the activists, three women, wore hazardous materials suits to keep them from carrying GM organisms out of the site, and were motivated by concerns about the trial?s safety.

?We had no choice but to take action to bring an end to this experiment,? said campaigner Laura Kelly.

?GM has never been proven safe to eat and once released in open experiments, it will contaminate. This is about the protection of our health, the protection of our environment and the protection of our daily bread.?



                                  PART 7

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   A MUM TAKES ACTION AGAINST GM WHEAT

SOURCE:  Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Australia

AUTHOR:  Press Release

URL:     http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/news/food/A-mum-takes-action-against-GM-wheat/

DATE:    14.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Greenpeace activists, including one mother who wants to protect her family, have stopped a GM wheat experiment outside Canberra this morning.

Three women used whipper snippers to remove a controversial genetically modified wheat crop before day break. The activists constructed a decontamination area to safely dispose of the untested and potentially unstable GM organisms."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


A MUM TAKES ACTION AGAINST GM WHEAT

Greenpeace activists, including one mother who wants to protect her family, have stopped a GM wheat experiment outside Canberra this morning.

Three women used whipper snippers to remove a controversial genetically modified (GM) wheat crop before day break.

The activists constructed a decontamination area to safely dispose of the untested and potentially unstable GM organisms.

Safety in question

The activity follows the revelation that Australia?s peak scientific body, CSIRO, is conducting the world?s first human feeding trials of GM wheat, without adequate safety testing.

?This GM wheat should never have left the lab,? said activist and mother, Heather McCabe. ?I?m sick of being treated like a dumb Mum who doesn?t understand the science. As far as I?m concerned, my family?s health is just too important. GM wheat is not safe, and if the government can?t protect the safety of my family, then I will.?

CSIRO?s wheat experiment came under recent scrutiny when eight international scientists and doctors questioned the ethics and scientific rigour behind it. In an open letter the scientists questioned the safety of human feeding trials planned for later this year in which Australians would be fed GM wheat from the Canberra based trials.

Conflict of interest

On 30 June, CSIRO rejected a Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace which requested further information to ensure the safety of the human feeding trials, along with transparent information about the commercial partnerships CSIRO has with foreign biotech companies to commercialise GM wheat.

In a July report ? Australia?s Wheat Scandal Greenpeace detailed a major conflict of interest at CSIRO. Two directors of the biotech giant Nufarm ? the distributor of Monsanto?s products in Australia ? also sat on the CSIRO board at the time of the wheat experiment?s approval. View the infographic detailing the connections

GM wheat has already been rejected in Canada, North America, Russia and the EU. The CSIRO is being used as a front for foreign biotech companies; this has compromised its research and put Australia?s multi-billion dollar wheat industry at risk.

Inevitable contamination

All of the evidence shows that GM can?t be contained in the field. Greenpeace has taken action to protect our food supply being contaminated by experimental GM wheat. Now the Australian Government must step in and protect the health of Australian people.

?We had no choice but to take action to bring an end to this experiment,? said Greenpeace Food campaigner Laura Kelly. ?GM has never been proven safe to eat and once released in open experiments, it will contaminate. This is about the protection of our health, the protection of our environment and the protection of our daily bread.?

Trials of potentially unstable GM wheat strains are currently planted in five states and territories across Australia

http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/Food/resources/Infographics-and-images/GM-contamination-of-Australian-wheat/