GM bug trial shelved because of consumer hostility to GM food (18/5/2005)

GM bug trial shelved
Wednesday, 18/05/2005

A 10-year project to develop a genetically modified organism to help cattle fight Gidyea and Heartleaf poisoning has been shelved.

The GM rumen bug has been successfully trialled as a shield against the fluroacetate poison which occurs naturally in plants growing in inland Australia.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has decided against applying to do further testing.

MLA's Dr Ruben Rose says consumer attitudes to GM food could create problems for beef producers.

"It's certainly one of those things where a lot of effort and time has been put to find a solution," he said.

"But I think putting on a larger-scale industry hat it would be really a much bigger concern to producers if in fact this sort of work would lead to an issue with consumers and then an issue in terms of some markets being denied access by Australian products.

"It's clearly something that we have to go cautiously on to make sure that we get a good outcome."

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