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Farmers slam Bayer Cropscience for contamination

Press Release
Network Of Concerned Farmers
14 July 05

Farmers slam Bayer Cropscience for contamination

Farmers are outraged at the report that there was 0.1% 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."

ENDS

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