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Uniform nationwide bans on GE crops are needed to prevent contamination.
Uniform nationwide bans on GE crops are needed to prevent contamination.
Activists show GE crops know no borders

The activists, who are trained in dealing with genetic hazardous materials, unfurled the giant 20m x 30m banner in Arndo - close to the South Australian border, to send a strong message to state governments that GE canola crops can cross state borders and contaminate conventional crops.

The trial, just days after being harvested, contains GE canola debris.  It highlights that the NSW and Victorian governments have no adequate measures in place to deal with serious issues caused by GE contamination.

Greenpeace genetic engineering campaign coordinator Michelle Sheather said that NSW and Victoria are threatening the entire country’s GE-free status by allowing the first commercial release of GE canola.  

“This GE canola field is contaminated by GE canola debris.  What procedures have been put in place to contain this harvest, transport and clean up? In Australia it will be impossible to prevent GE canola from contaminating non-GE crops or cross-breeding with other weed species,” Sheather said.

“The NSW and Victorian governments must implement and explain in detail the contamination procedures they intend to set in place to protect farmers, food companies, and consumers from the unwanted contamination of our fields and foods.”

Greenpeace recently released an annual report on global GE contamination incidents.  Presented to the United Nations, the report highlighted that Argentina rejected GE canola because of contamination issues.

GE canola can cross-pollinate with conventional canola and other weeds, creating ‘superweeds’, permanently resistant to glyphosate (Round up). Farmers must then resort to highly toxic sprays to control them.

Argentina rejected GE canola precisely for this reason, an issue becoming paramount in Australia. Recent Canadian research has confirmed cross-pollination has occurred in Canada.

The South Australian Government recently announced it would extend its ban on GE canola, due to concerns over loss of markets such as Japan and Europe.

“There is a real threat that GE canola will cross the South Australian border and contaminate other farmers’ crops. Victoria and NSW can’t act alone on this issue.  The threats that GE crops will pose to Australia’s environment, public health and the economy are too grave,” said Sheather.

TAKE ACTION: help keep Australia GE-free

DOWNLOAD:  the Greenpeace global contamination report

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