Democrats urge caution on GMOs: 24-10-07

            Bring Back Balance

ACT Democrats Media Release 24 October 2007

Democrats urge caution on GMOs

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill, said today,

“When it comes to GMOs, choice and labelling are critical issues”.

In Western Australia today (Wednesday 24 Oct), a delegation from the

Consumers Union of Japan presented the state Agriculture Minister with a

petition urging the WA Government to continue its moratorium on GM crops.

Moratoriums on commercial GM food crops in New South Wales, Victoria and

South Australia are due to expire next year and are currently being

reviewed.

Last year, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said at the Biotechnology in

Canberra & Region Summit, “We have to take care that we do not deal

ourselves out of contention when it comes to such areas as stem-cell

research and GMOs”.

Investment in any technology that has benefits for society and promotes

consumer choice should be encouraged, but we must be cautious in relation to

impacts on human health and environmental biodiversity.

“Whilst plant breeding has given us crops that are stronger and resistant to

some type of diseases (eg. wheat that is resistant to drought and rust), we

need to look at long term health and environmental effects of Genetic

Modification before committing to it on a commercial scale”, Mr. Churchill

said.

People have a right to choose GMO foods, or not, if they so wish, but there

are different levels of Genetic Modification, and that makes product

labelling an extremely important issue. Putting barley genes in wheat may be

acceptable to some, but putting animal genes in plants is a very different

thing.

“I am a vegetarian, so I think that if we do go down that path it should

only be with adequate labelling so that vegetarians/vegans and people not

wishing to use a GMO product can make an informed choice.

We have to thoroughly examine the possible benefits and risks to human

health and biodiversity.  We have to
have appropriate regulation and

environmental impact assessment procedures in place”, concluded Mr.

Churchill.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

Darren.Churchill@act.democrats.org.au

0412 196 473
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