Greens MP Mark Parnell’s bill to extend the moratorium on growing GM crops in South Australia until 2025 has passed the Upper House. It is expected to pass the Lower House. Jay Weatherill’s Labour Government is supportive of the ban. It creates a “significant price premium for our state’s farmers compared to GM crops grown in other states” and consumers benefit too.
Farmers in the US are suing Monsanto, the patent owner of most GM crops and the creator of Roundup. They claim to have developed cancer due to using the weedkiller. The court case is revealing internal Monsanto documents showing how they ghost write science, have paid scientists to promote their interests while appearing to be independent, are sabotaging regulation and are creating attacks on independent scientists and bodies who show their product causes harm.
Existing GM crops have failed but new GM techniques have been developed including gene editing or CRISPR. Three reviews into regulation are currently underway in Australia. The industry wants full deregulation meaning GM microbes, plants, animals, fish, trees and humans would require no oversight, pre-market testing, labelling or monitoring. The reviews are taking place over summer and it is essential that these techniques are regulated.
Join Friends of the Earth and help regulate new GM techniques on animals, plants, humans, crops, trees and microbes.
Three reviews on GM technologies in Australia will have huge effects on our food, health and environment:
- Forums on the Review of the national Gene Tech Scheme are in Sydney and Adelaide this week and other capital cities later. Register here. This review has the potential to: remove the ability for States to have GM Moratoriums, remove GM labelling requirements, avoid any pre-market approval by using a product instead of process based regulation and allow GM contamination in Organic food.
- OGTR review of the rules on new GMOs. Sign this petition to ask the Assistant Health Minister to regulate them. New GM techniques including CRISPR, RNA interference could be used to create GM animals, microbes, crop plants, fish, humans, trees etc. The Gene Technology Act 2000 defines gene technology as “any technique for the modification of genes or other genetic material” therefore all GM techniques and their products should be regulated. This review proposes deregulating the most popular new GM techniques. It would mean no pre-market testing, no register of what is GM and no labelling. Farmers would not know if the seed they are using was produced using these techniques or not. There is no history of safe use for these techniques. For example, CRISPR was first used for gene editing in 2013 yet it could be in our food, lives and environment with no oversight.These new techniques are as unpredictable and hazardous as the old GM. Scientists have stated that these techniques should be regulated as GM. IFOAM, the international organic body wants regulation as well. Last year the US Intelligence community’s annual worldwide threat assessment report found these new gene editing techniques to be “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation.” More information on these techniques are in this fact sheet and longer report here.
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is deciding whether to regulate new GM foods. FSANZ is conducting a review into whether it will require pre-market approvals for the new GM breeding techniques. It says there will be a public consultation before the review is completed mid 2018.
It is essential that the public has a voice in these discussions and that these techniques are strongly regulated.