This morning, Greenpeace set up a mobile Biohazard Research Centre at a GE canola field near Geelong, southern Victoria. What did we find? Commercial beehives contaminated with genetically engineered (GE) canola pollen.
Honey samples were collected from hives just metres away from a GE canola field and were found to contain Monsanto's Roundup Ready canola pollen. This means people buying honey from this hive will be eating GE food without knowing it, and before it's been properly assessed as safe to eat. The GE canola farmer is not obliged to inform his neighbours about what he is growing, so the beekeeper has been kept as much in the dark as everyone else.
This follows the recent discovery of GE canola growing along roadside verges near Berrigan, New South Wales and Horsham, Victoria. » Read more
South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia still have crop bans in place.
Why is Greenpeace doing this?
From the research centre, Greenpeace will monitor wind speed and pollen flow onsite to determine how far pollen from the GE canola crop is likely to spread.
Greenpeace is taking action to draw attention to GE canola being approcved for release in Australia under the Howard Government, without proper studies into the impacts on human health or the environment. Roundup Ready canola has been shown to have adverse effects on livers in Monsanto's own rat-feeding studies. It's also been banned in Europe.(1)
As federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon needs to step in and ensure independent proof that GE crops and foods are safe "beyond reasonable doubt". This is what the ALP promised at the 2007 federal election.
We also need biodiversity studies to examine the impact these new crops and farming techniques have on surrounding plants, insects and animals.
Farmers, chefs and community visit the centre
Local farmers and community members joined Greenpeace at the research station to protest the spread of GE canola. Organic farmer Evan hardy says, "I'm concerned that the introduction of GE crops will remove choice for all farmers. GE contamination will lead to the increasing domination of agriculture by large chemical companies and an increased reliance on toxic herbicides."
Melbourne restauranteur, Duré Dara, has come to the centre to express her concerns. "We need our governments to be more responsible and to think about genetically engineered food in a much more considered way. Food protection is an issue that affects tourism, our global image and the health of our citizens."
Ms Dara co-manages the Nudel Bar and Residential restaurants, and is one of close to 200 leading chefs and restauranteurs who have signed the GM-free Chefs' Charter.
Use this online form to ask Nicola Roxon to ensure that:
* GE crops are only approved if they are proven to be safe 'beyond reasonable doubt'; and
* All GE foods are clearly labelled.
(1) Eating in the Dark: How Australia’s food regulator is failing us on genetically engineered food, p 22.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
New source of genetic pollution found
'Truefood Network' reports [1/10/09]: