Europe, Japan to cancel grain contracts with Australia due to GMO contamination
Monday, January 03, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Australia is playing with fire by relaxing its standards on genetically-modified organisms (GMO). According to a recent report in The Australian, both Europe and Japan may cancel their non-GMO grain contracts with Australian growers because of GM contamination, including the recent case of Steve Marsh who lost his organic certification due to GM canola invading his fields..
GMOs are not very prevalent in Australia, and in some Australian states they are still outlawed. But in other regions, political pressure has given way to increased GMO plantings, which threatens Australia's unique position as an exporter of non-GMOs, particularly canola. And if things keep going in the current direction, Australia could lose its position in the non-GM trade market.
The cease trade warnings from at least four European importers and two Japanese importers were prompted after it was determined that a GM canola field in Western Australia (WA) had contaminated more than 540 acres of a nearby organic wheat farm (http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/co...). And current West Australia Minister for Agriculture and Food, Terry Redman, is allegedly pushing to lower Australian organic standards in response, which only adds fuel to the fire.
"European consumers remain resolutely opposed to genetically modified crops, and as European importers we must remain responsive to the needs of our customers," explained a letter from the European importers obtained by The Australian. In other words, if Australian leaders fail to crack down on the GMO takeover, the integrity of the entire non-GM industry is at stake.
However, non-GM and organic growers like Marsh are beginning to take control and fight back against the agri-giants that are destroying their livelihood. Several groups, including the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF), have indicated that if non-GM growers successfully win legal cases against the likes of Monsanto, a whole new precedent will be set.
"The GM farmer should be worried because they are ultimately liable and this is an avenue where the non-GM farmer can say right we'll follow this example and we'll do the same and it could be a class action if you're not sure who causes it," explained Julie Newman from NCF to Australian reporters, in reference to contamination lawsuits against GM growers.