Surely the bans on genetically modified (GM) food crops in most Australian states will be lifted soon?
But the mainstream media keep printing these letter from people like Gill Rosier perpetuating misinformation – in particular the myth that Australia is GM free. David Tribe busted a few myths in his letter to The Age on September 13, 2007, reprinted here with permission:
Horse has already bolted on GM foods
GILL Rosier (Letters, 11/9) points out the decision to lift or extend Victoria’s moratorium on genetically manipulated crops rests with Premier John Brumby. Rosier also offers the judgement that Mr Brumby is likely to drop the ban, given his vision for Victoria to be a world leader in biotechnology. But Rosier also raises the issue of whether in making such a decision, Mr Brumby will throw away Victoria’s “GM-free status”.
The answer to this is simple. There is no way our “GM-free status” will be affected because in Victoria we already import large quantities of GM foods and stock feeds — maize, soy and canola — particularly in times of drought. For many years now we have been feeding them to farm animals in stock feed. So, without even mentioning GM vaccines, GM carnations or Australian GM cottonseed, the truthful answer to Rosier’s rhetorical question is this: in Victoria’s case, the “GM-free status” tag is just tricky double-speak for our present active use of GM feeds and foods in farming systems. The equally misleading question of whether there is any real price advantage from this dubious distinction can be left for another day.
Senior Lecturer, Institute of Land and Food, University of Melbourne