First farmer loses crop to GM

A WA oat and wheat grower has become the first farmer to lose his organic certification after his crop was contaminated by a neighbour's genetically modified canola crop.

In a statement by shadow agriculture minister Mick Murray, it was reported tthat 60 per cent of Kojonup farmer Stephen Marsh's property had been contaminated by the GM crop.


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This is an absolute disgrace. Mr Marsh should be fully compensated for lost income as well as the cost of getting his property back to its organic certified condition. The Government is responsible because they overturned the ban and allowed the GM crop to be planted. The neighbour planted the GM crop so he has to feel some responsibility but the bottom line is that the Government gave the approval. If they are held accountable then maybe they will reverse the overturn on the ban and prevent this from happening to other organic farmers.

Contamination issue was a time bomb waiting to happen. Canola growing on the side of the road and even in our forests is a common occurrence. The seed is so fine that it is easily spread through a tiny leak or as has happened to Mr Marsh when wind-rowed crops are picked up by the wind. Only today I spoke to a honey producer who has also been adversely affected by the release of GM canola. When he sells his honey he has to state if it is GM free and to meet that criteria his bees must not be within 5 kms of a GM crop. This means that he now has to ask all farmers in that radius if they are growing GM crops which he says is too time consuming and costly. He believes that in the future he will not be able to sell his honey into some markets.

I have been a consumer of organically grown oats from the Kojonup area for some time and lament the government can be so ill advised to allow GM crops. One only has to stand in the breeze and see how nature disperses seeds and pollen to know instinctively there is no way of containing or isolating GM crops. Same as rabbits; same as cane toads; same as politicians. Get real - ban GM crops. Monsanto have hoodwinked the world - they even tried to control basmati rice - but then the Indian government said NO. Why cannot the Australian governments show some courage and also say NO!

Ah, did the government act in response to pressure from corporates and farmers intent on short term profit building, or the public interest? It was well known ahead of approving GM crops that boundaries would be breached and neighbouring properties and native biota contaminated. Those that engaged in GM applications understand the risks and assume the liabilities. Only those who champion GM and intentionally gain are responsible for any losses, the public at large remain an innocent if not already an exploited party.

Moore River
My daughter has been experiencing allergic reactions from canola oil for some time. We can only use olive oil in our house. I could not see on the packaging that the canola oil I have purchased says it is GM. Is there no labelling laws on GM foods? I need and would love to see the Moore River region a GM FREE zone. If this is affecting our childre now, what will the outcome be later on when data becomes available?

Monsanto should be the first financial restoration call. It's their garbage contaminating the world. Time to legally demand they get it out of our good earth!

Embleton WA
Well, surprise surprise, it did not take long at all for this to happen, did it? When will the bureaucrats learn?

GM Canola spread and contaminate? What a surprise? Who would have knew that would happen? Oh, that's right, EVERYONE. What, were the WA government hoping no one would notice or care? Sorry, but that's just not the case. Not only are organic sales on the increase as a way to avoid GM, but people are looking at their labels more and more now, and if you give anyone on the street a choice between a product containing GM, and one without, they will choose the GM one. Some farmers may suggest that it is their choice whether they plant GM crops or not. The problem is that you remove everyone else's choice when you do so.

alexandra vic
Mr Marsh should ensure the WA Government is included in any court action he may take. They peddled the furphy that this situation would not happen.

How can the government claim there are sufficient safeguards in place to protect cross-contamination between GM and non-GM crops? The government does not even know exactly where the GM crops are being grown because that information is confidential. Who knows? Monsanto knows. DAFWA has published a GM map on their website, but it tells only regions and numbers. DAFWA has conducted audits, but only on a voluntary basis. Why is DAFWA only auditing GM farmers who volunteer to be audited? Why are they not conducting random audits? Why did they audit a region where no GM canola is being grown? Why did they travel to regions to audit crops only to find no crop there due to drought? Who knows? Monsanto knows. It's certainly a gullible government that thinks it's in control here !! Fortunately, the public is not nearly so gullible.

Macedon Victoria
Mr Marsh should take all legal action against the contaminator as they has destroyed his status as an organic supplier. If the farmer who contaminated Mr Marsh's crops reads his public liability insurance policy he will AND should have realized that he is not covered for contamination . Maybe the owner of the seed (THE LARGE MULTINATIONAL ) is prepared to compensate MR Marsh no doubt they will have some out clause- back up by ill informed stupid Goverments. Maybe the Goverments should be made accountable for wrong decisions. I would be prepared to donate to Mr Marsh's war chest to fight these bad decisions. When the wide spread release of GM seed was mooted these were the arguments our polititions ignored to take into account and as mention previously the bomb is now going of big time. I am also a bee keeper and stay well clear of the yellow peril during spring. Lucky it only flowers early in the season before our native flaura flowers and thus can be called GM free produce.

# Rona Chiera: There iis NO REQUIREMENT to state that canola oil pressed from GM canola is to be labelled GM because there is no modified DNA. Do I agree? Not in the slightest, my choice is never to buy canola oil again!

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