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WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman has said he supports the growing of GM canola in the state
WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman has said he supports the growing of GM canola in the state
Demand a GM-free WA for Christmas!

Ask your MP to keep WA GM-free!

You can find your MP’s contact details here.

West Australians want the state to stay GM-free

The Newspoll survey, conducted among a representative sample of 300 West Australians aged 18+, including 216 main grocery buyers, found that 61 per cent of these grocery buyers would not buy GM food.

Further, 53 per cent of West Australian adults believe that the Government's current ban on GM food crops should be upheld, compared with just 28 per cent who thought the ban should be lifted. Only 8 per cent of respondents strongly believed that the GM crop ban should be lifted. The remainder were undecided.

The level of public concern around GM food is hardly surprising, given that there have still been no long-term studies conducted on the health impacts of eating GM food. And those studies that have been conducted in animals give cause for concern. For example, when Monsanto fed GM Roundup Ready canola to rats they showed a 12-16% increase in liver weight. A recent report endorsed by 10 leading scientists raises serious concerns about the methods used by our food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to assess the safety of GM food.

Consumer concern has resulted in the market rejection of GM canola both in Australia and in our key export markets Europe and Japan. In Australia the majority of major end users of canola have a non-GM policy for their own brand products – including Goodman Fielder (Meadow Lea), Unilever (Flora). Peerless (Tablelands), Coles, IGA and Foodland.

As a result of pressure from the food industry in Australia, Europe and Japan, two major grain buyers, Elders and CBH, have refused to buy GM canola from NSW and Victoria this year. The buyers are also avoiding purchasing non-GM canola from silos handling GM material because of concerns that it may be contaminated. In an interview with Stock and Land, Elders Toepfer Grain canola trader Felix Mueller stated that "for export, GM is not workable…You won't get it into Europe and I don’t think the Japanese are particularly keen on it."

During the past few years canola exports from Western Australia to the EU have increased significantly. In 2008/09 91% of WA’s canola was exported to the EU. A 2007 ABARE report noted that the unintended presence of GM canola in Australian shipments could be a problem if the EU becomes a larger and more regular importer of Australian canola because of the EU labelling threshold of 0.9%. Canada has almost completely lost its canola seed exports to Europe as a result of adopting GM canola and WA risks the same if it lifts its GM canola moratorium.

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