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Monsanto drops GM canola in Australia

(Thursday, May 13, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) have expressed reserved relief that Monsanto has withdrawn their support for GM canola in Australia.

"This decision was expected as we believe Monsanto is well aware that time will not favour their cause," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson and WA farmer.

"Monsanto would not be pulling out if they had faith in independent trial results and if they would accept the liability for the consequences of introduction which would facilitate commercialisation," she added.

Monsanto's spokesperson Mark Buckingham said that their situation would be reviewed and Monsanto could change their minds in 2005 if there was a "significant change" in the current situation. Mrs Newman claims that this may be a situation where Monsanto is avoiding the independent trials planned for this year.

"If Monsanto had faith in their variety being independently assessed against non-GM varieties, they would not be avoiding trials," she said.

"Time has shown the more consumers and farmers know about GM canola the less they want it. Time will show that the advances in non-GM biotechnology will give far better benefits without risks," Mrs Newman explained.

"Rather than rushing GM canola in without restrictions and without farmers knowing the full story, government and farmers are now insisting that companies such as Monsanto must take liability for the consequences."

The NCF has been lobbying to ensure the GM industry is responsible for containment of their product and all associated liability rather than the proposed plans where the onus was on the non-GM grower to avoid contamination of their product. The NCF are recommending a Federal economic risk assessment and risk management procedure prior to OGTR assessment to prevent further problems occurring.

"It is a shame our regulatory process did not address serious concerns such as liability far earlier than they have," said Mrs Newman adding "it would have saved Monsanto and the taxpayer a lot of money."


Julie Newman WA 0427 711644 or 08 98711562
Juliet McFarlane NSW 0429 822564 or 02 63822509
Geoffrey Carracher Vic 03 53866261