Farmer Protection GM Inquiry fails GM-free farmers and consumers

The report delivered by the parliamentary committee’s inquiry into mechanisms for compensation for non-GM farmers has disappointed consumers and GM-free farmers alike.

 “While we are grateful for the opportunity to have this inquiry we are dissatisfied by its findings and find it astonishing that there are no recommendations at the end of this process” says Janet Grogan, FOODwatch representative and principal petitioner. 

“Our primary reason for creating this petition and call for farmer protection legislation is because we are concerned by the potential loss of access to GM-free food grown here in WA due to repeated events of GM contamination.” 

“The committee finds minimal evidence of systemic contamination by GMOs in WA”, but who is looking? There have been many GM contamination events in WA since the dismal GM canola trials of 2009 when, despite best practice and intensive monitoring, there were 11 contamination events at just 19 sites.” 

“We know anecdotally that farmers are experiencing GM contamination problems, but are wary of speaking publicly because of the very findings which the committee has made concerning the impacts these problems have in small rural communities”. 

“It is unfair that the committee is suggesting that the GM-free farmer now carries additional responsibility to deal with potential GM contamination events by increasing insurance cover, which comes with its own risks”. 

“Common Law has already failed to deal with GM contamination so it is unreasonable to believe that it can be used adequately again. The report actually concedes that “the use of Common Law may be inadequate.” 

“Here the GM sector of WA’s grain industry has seen its share in the local market fall for the past three years. GM canola now accounts for less than 20% of all canola, and less than 3% of all grain grown in WA, and yet appears to take no responsibility to control contamination.” 

“This report should have come with recommendations to shift the onus of mitigating GM contamination onto the GM growers, as was suggested in our submission. The majority of people want the choice to buy GM-free food, but if our farmers are not protected they may not be able to provide it. “

Janet Grogan    FOODWatch representative  0420 820 713