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Cropchoice Opinion ...
GMO-Free Zones Step Ahead

(9 November - Cropchoice Opinion) -- Imagine a state, county, or region free from worries about GMO cross-pollination, with no tech fees, no buffer zones, where premiums abound, and Starlink (and other GMO) contaminated bins are virtually impossible. It's pie in the sky so far; but some biotech opponents think such places can happen if legislators create GMO-free zones. A few bills have been introduced in the US, like the one in New York to impose a statewide GMO planting moratorium and directing officials to develop non-GMO marketing programs. The idea is still small; but it is gaining momentum.

The New York bill, and other large scale efforts in the US haven't yet passed. But square on the other side of the world in Australia, an agricultural powerhouse, the idea is taking root. This is mainly because of strong support from the southern Australian state of Tasmania and it's vision to be Australia's provider of "clean and green" food.

Down Under, a brutal fight has been waged between Australian federal regulators, who favor the same GMO policy across the country, and state officials who want more local power. In fact, Tasmania sees its ability to create a GMO-free zone as an issue of States' Rights. That made GMO-free zones a big focus in the Australian version of the States' Rights debate familiar in the United States, especially among conservatives.

Tasmanian officials, with support from other states like New South Wales, are winning their battle. According to the Melbourne Age, negotiators have agreed that Australian states will have the right to decide to go GMO-free. The agreement is described as one "in principle" and has not yet been put into law. Tasmanian officials are no doubt pleased with the victory, which will allow them to pursue their vision of making money in the non-GMO market by creating a biotech-free island.

There's even talk that Victoria, which supported Tasmania, will start discussions on the possible creation of GMO-free zones in that state, while some local politicians are lobbying for the right to create GMO-free zones in their jurisdictions.

Could the GMO-free zone idea wind its way to the US? In some places, it already has; but industry oppostion is fierce. It's not in the can yet; but Australia is undoubtedly moving toward allowing GMO-free zones. From there the idea could gain speed, maybe even enough to make a push across the Pacific.

Source: The Age (Melbourne, Australia)