GMO canola contaminates majority of land on organic farm

Friday, December 10, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: GMOs, canola, health news

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(NaturalNews) Just as many in the natural health community have been saying for years, a recent report out of Australia explains that genetically-modified organisms (GMO) are fully capable of spreading to and contaminating nearby non-GMO and organic crop fields. In the first case of its kind in Australia, an organic farmer may sue the creator of a variety of GMO canola that has invaded his fields and contaminated at least two-thirds of them.

According to reports, Steve Marsh's organic fields were contaminated by a nearby GMO canola field whose seeds somehow traveled nearly a mile into his own land and took hold on over 540 acres of it. He believes that when his neighbor swathed the modified crops prior to harvest, the seeds caught air and traveled in the wind to the organic land.

"Our livelihood is at stake as we are a certified organic farm and rely on the premium that comes with selling guaranteed GM-free organic food, in Australia and in overseas markets," Marsh told reporters. "Governments that allow GM canola to be grown must ensure whatever a farmer does within their boundary does not impact on neighboring farms. But clearly, the technology can't be contained."

Marsh's certifier, the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA), is currently conducting an official investigation into the matter to see what can be done about it. But Jessica Harrison, a technician at Gene Ethics Cropwatch, says that the Australian government has basically decided to give preferential treatment to the GMO industry and its growers, choosing to look the other way in spite of obvious contamination problems.

GMO canola had been previously banned in Australia, but was recently unbanned back in March. The government had declared that the "Frankencrop" could be safely segregated from natural crops, but that has proven not to be the case. Now, say the concerned groups, citizens cannot be sure whether or not the "organic" products they buy and eat are truly organic anymore.

"The government mislead us and now our farmers and consumers are paying the price," explained Harrison. "Laws need to be enacted to protect the majority of farmers [sic] want to stay GM-free. Farmers must be compensated for any loss of premiums and certification that result from GM contamination."

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