On Wednesday the verdict came in on the landmark case of WA organic grower, Steve Marsh, who lost his organic certification after his land was contaminated by GM canola from his neighbour, Michael Baxter’s farm.   Even though it was proved that GM canola plants had come from Marsh’s neighbour, Justice Kenneth Martin determined that Baxter was within his rights to harvest his crop in a way that would spread GM seed over his boundary and that it was the certifying body, NASAA, who was in the wrong for decertifying Steve Marsh’s land.

When GM crops were approved State Governments made no provision for scenarios where a non-GM farmer and a GM farmer were in dispute over contamination.  They have simply left it up to the courts to decide and in this case where everyone believed they did the right thing it’s turned into a complete mess.  The end result is a life-long friendship is ruined, Michael Baxter’s marriage has broken down under the strain, both parties have lost significant time and money and non-GM farmers across Australia have no idea where they stand in all this.

The rub to this decision is now some GM crops are legal in Australia organic certification bodies, like NASAA, and organic consumers are being pushed to accept a level of GMO contamination in organic foods and adjust their standards to fit.  NASAA says they’re open to changing the standards but will be lead by consumer demands.  The ball is in now our court and if you’d like to share your consumer demands with NASAA here’s their email address enquiries@nasaa.com.au     We’ll keep you posted.  If you’d like to know more about GMO’s in Australia check out Melbourne’s own MADGE

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