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Victoria decision means Australia effectively remains free of GM food crops

(Friday, May 9, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The decision of the state of Victoria to impose a 12-month freeze on the commercial release of genetically engineered canola means that all of Australia's major canola-growing states have imposed some form of moratorium on the commercial release of the country's first proposed transgenic food crop.

The Victorian decision comes as a major blow to applicants Monsanto and Bayer, who have lobbied strongly for the release of their GE canola products. As one of the world's largest exporters of canola, Australia is seen as a key area for expansion of GE crops, which are reported to be struggling to find acceptance outside North America and Argentina.

Surveys have shown that 70 percent of Australians are concerned about eating genetically modified food. Many major food companies in the country have responded by removing such foods from their supply chains.