Canola GM contamination traced to Tas trial (2/11/2005)

1.Canola GM contamination traced to Tas trial
2.Tasmania remains committed to GM-free status

Certain irony about these 2 items taken together. Tasmania which is determined to be GM free finds its status under attack, as do other Australian states, because of a GM trial Tas held back in the late 1990s. Moral: if you grow this stuff anywhere, any time on any scale, you're opening up a world of problems and not only for yourself.

1.Canola GM contamination traced to Tas trial
ABC, Tuesday 2 November 2005

The genetically modified (GM) contamination of canola crops has been traced to a Tasmanian trial in the late 1990s.

The state was contracted by the Victorian Government to grow a variety of canola in 1999 and recent tests show that while the seeds were GM-free when sent across Bass Strait, return shipments were contaminated.

The state's handling of the trial will now be investigated by the gene technology regulator, Dr Sue Meek, although she says that is only one line of inquiry.

"There is an inference from some results from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries that one source of contamination might have originated in Tasmania," she said.

"There's more than one type of genetic material that's been discovered and more than one line that is involved."

Tasmania's head of biosecurity Alex Schaap is concerned that a conclusion seems to have been reached before any investigation takes place.

He is welcoming the inquiry, to determine exactly how the contamination occurred.

"I guess that's the troubling thing for us, we haven't in our investigations to date been able to generate any plausible hypothesis about how contamination could have occurred," he said.

Meanwhile, grain handler Graincorp will remove any grower liability for GM contamination once this year's harvest is delivered.

Managing director Tom Keene says growers will not have to make declarations about the GM status of their canola and will not be held to account is unintended GM material is found.

"It's not only Graincorp of course, I think you'll find it's common across the industry and certainly that outcome is supported by the Australian Oilseeds Federation which is industry representative on this issue," he said.

"We're very confident there won't be any high level detections, it has only ever been at the trace level."

2.Tasmania remains committed to GM-free status
ABC, Sunday, 30 October 2005

The Tasmanian Government has restated its commitment to a ban on genetically modified (GM) foods, despite voting for a more relaxed national policy on the issue.

Australian primary industries ministers, including Tasmanian Minister Steve Kons, voted on Wednesday to allow 0.5 per cent contamination of GM canola seeds in all states.

That raised doubts over Tasmania's GM-free status.

In a statement, Mr Kons says the move reflects an understanding that zero tolerance of GM material is not achievable in other states with more canola production.

But a spokesman for Mr Kons says Tasmania will not be allowing itself the 0.5 per cent leeway.

He says the Government still intends to keep Tasmania totally GM-free.


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