Farmers slam Bayer Cropscience for contamination / Lab reprimanded (14/7/2005)

1.Farmers slam Bayer Cropscience for contamination
2.Lab reprimanded - GE and non-GE plants not separated properly

1.Farmers slam Bayer Cropscience for contamination
Press Release - for immediate release
Network of Concerned Farmers, 14 July 2005

Farmers are outraged at the report that there was 0.01% contamination found in an Australian Barley Board non-GM canola consignment destined for Japan.

"If Bayer Cropscience think that farmers are going to accept losses in markets or additional costs because of these unwanted GM genes, they can think again," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers. "Wake up Bayer, it is a major problem for farmers and markets and because there is a moratorium the problem is for Bayer Cropscience to recall the product."

"We don't want liability for a product we do not want and do not need, yet farmers sign guarantees that we have no GM in our produce" she explained. "Liability should be on Bayer Cropscience's shoulders, not on farmers."

"If we can not control contamination coming from across the other side of the world, how on earth can we control it with a 5 metre buffer zone as suggested. Saying that is the fault of United States and Canada due to some imported breeding lines is ludicrous and little more than an excuse that gives others the blame for negligence."

The Australian Oilseeds Federation is pushing for tolerance levels where some "adventitous presence" of GM is allowed in non-GM seed. The ACCC has confirmed that in order to market as "non-GM" or "GM-free" there must be no trace of GM canola in the consignment. Markets and supply chains are demanding guarantees of no trace of GM in many Australian products.

"Setting a tolerance level that does not comply with law and does not comply with market demand is totally negligent" said Mrs Newman.

The Network of Concerned Farmers is asking for immediate legislative protection to ensure farmers can claim compensation if incomes are adversely affected.

"We knew something like this would happen eventually but the test is to see where the liability for this recklessness lies and it had better not rest with the non-GM farmers that do not want this GM product in their crops."

"This company has no concern for sabotaging Australia's clean, green GM-Free image."

Contact Julie Newman 08 98711562 or 08 98711644.

2.Lab reprimanded
GE and non-GE plants not separated properly in NZ greenhouse

GE and non-GE plants could have mingled during a breach of containment rules at a New Zealand research facility.

The problem was discovered during a routine inspection of a HortResearch® glasshouse in Palmerston North, the Sunday Star Times reported.

The Crown research institute has been reprimanded and ordered to immediately construct a screen to separate the plants.

The "low risk" research is on the arabidopsis plant, a member of the cabbage family.

Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons told the Sunday Star Times that the non-compliance showed rules were not being treated seriously.

"It represents a pretty casual attitude and it could well indicate they might be casual about other rules."

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