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WA’s court verdict on GM crops is a dose of common sense

In a landmark West Australian Supreme Court decision, a farmer growing a genetically modified canola crop has been spared the blame after his neighbour accused him of contaminating his organic farm next…

Canola fields: one of the battlegrounds of the debate over genetic modification. Michael Jones/supplied

In a landmark West Australian Supreme Court decision, a farmer growing a genetically modified canola crop has been spared the blame after his neighbour accused him of contaminating his organic farm next door.

The case has prompted strong reactions, but my view is that the verdict is a victory for common sense. It is regrettable that the case occurred in the first place, and has caused personal anguish to both farmers, their families and their community.

The case involved two farmers, Steve Marsh and Michael Baxter, who owned neighbouring farms near Kojonup, about 250 km southeast of Perth. Marsh’s farm was certified organic by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA).

The court ruled that Michael Baxter could not be blamed for his canola harvesting methods. Angie Raphael/AAP

Marsh alleged that after Baxter swathed his crop (a common practice in harvesting canola, in which the crop is cut and then laid in rows to dry), some of the GM canola was blown onto Marsh’s farm. As a result, Marsh lost his organic certification from the NASAA for part of his property. Marsh claimed that Baxter was negligent in planting and harvesting his GM canola and sought damages for loss of organic status, and to prevent Baxter from planting GM canola near his boundaries again.

The Supreme Court found in Baxter’s favour. Justice Kenneth Martin said that Baxter could not be held responsible just for growing a GM crop in a conventional way, that wind blowing some swathes of canola onto Marsh’s property was not intentional, and that Baxter was not to be held responsible as a broadacre farmer merely for growing a lawful GM crop and choosing an entirely orthodox harvesting method.

Where now?

At first sight this case might look straightforward, but it has many ramifications. It was a cause célèbre for the anti-GM movement, not just in Australia but overseas too. If the judgement had favoured Marsh it would have pitted many other farmers against their neighbours and set back the progress towards co-existence in the farming system between organic and GM growers.

The reasons for activists’ anti-GM stance are almost always political and ideological, rather than scientific. This is reflected in the NASAA’s organic certification standard, which says (emphasis added):

Even where evidence of GMOs is not detected in finished organic product, the deliberate or negligent exposure of organic production systems or finished products to GMOs is outside organic production principles.

By seeking to impose such stringent standards, the activists' aim is clearly to prevent farmers from growing GM crops at all. But with only about 1% of the food in the Australian retail market being organic, this rather seems like the tail trying to wag the dog.

Sources of GM opposition

The strong opposition to GM crops stems from a range of factors, including misinformation, lack of understanding of plant breeding processes (and of science in general), and in some cases a deep distrust of multinational life science companies. Is the fear of multinational companies justified, or do they have adequate regulatory processes?

Anti-GM campaigners have rallied around organic farmer Steve Marsh. AAP Image/Angie Raphael

Actually it is ironic that the cost of meeting the very strict regulations for developing GM crops mean that such companies are just about the only ones that can afford to develop them. These companies take their responsibilities very seriously, and it is worth noting that this case was not about food safety. In fact there has been no authenticated example of any harm to people caused by eating GM crops; in contrast, there are many examples of harm resulting from people eating organic produce.

Farming is a messy business

Nothing in agriculture is ever 100% pure – winds blow, floods occur, insects can fly across fences. (This is reflected in international food contamination standards – for example, the US Food and Drug Administration’s standard for 100 grams of tomato paste rules that it must not contain more than 29 fly eggs, or more than 14 fly eggs plus 1 maggot, or more than one maggot.)

Zero tolerance to GM material (or other materials) is impossible to achieve, and as such the organic standards create an unrealistic situation that was bound to lead to the sort of dispute that occurred between Marsh and Baxter.

That is why Justice Martin’s decision was a victory for common sense. The case was really a test of the organic certification standards, rather than of Baxter’s farming practices.

The best outcome would be that the NASAA and similar organic certification organisations in Australia reassess their standards, and come into line with those already in existence overseas. The United States, for example, has a 5% tolerance threshold before organic decertification. Even Europe, where anti-GM sentiment is stronger, has a 0.9% tolerance. Such a threshold would be readily achievable in Australia, and would allow organic, conventional and GM crops to co-exist amicably in the farming systems, as is the case in the United States and elsewhere.

In a world in which 12% of the world’s crops are now GM, and where up to 70% of foods in our supermarkets have some GM content (virtually any product derived from soybean, maize or cotton), it is important that we can progress past issues like that raised in the Marsh v Baxter case, and use the best science and technology to ensure sustainable and nutritious food production.

This is not to say that there is no place for organic and conventional crops. Genetic modification is just a tool that plant breeders can choose to use, to help crops produce higher yields, or resist disease and drought, hopefully becoming more sustainable in the process.

In a world where we will have to feed 9 billion people by 2050, it is important to make sure that the various ways in which we grow this food can exist harmoniously alongside one another.

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322 Comments sorted by

    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      The judge in his deliberations clearly considered the meaning of contamination which he found, surprisingly for him, that NASAA did not even have a clear definition of. The decision is based on the type of alleged "contamination". In this case he determined that as no GM material was in Marsh's produce and that there was no potential of cross pollination since Marsh does not grow canola that no contamination occurred. By my reading this still leaves open the door for potential future litigation if this does in fact occur.

      He also found that NASAA in consideration of their own standards wrongly decertified Marsh.

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    2. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to grant moule

      No fault of his own but clearly the fault of NASAA. From the Judges comments, all indications are that Marsh would have had a far greater chance of willing the case if he had sued NASAA. We of course know that this will not occur. The judge in his wisdom also subtly noted that rather than taking time to remove the "contamination" Marsh had time for doing Media with NASAA while showing off the "contamination" as if it were a "celebrity". These are not the actions of a farmer who just wants to get on with farming.

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    3. Fraser Drummond

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      While I do not have all the facts of the case I agree with Chris K that Marsh has a chance winning a case against NASAA whose certification standards refer to "the deliberate or negligent exposure of organic production systems or finished products to GMOs".
      Based on a basic understanding of the judgement there was no deliberate or negligent exposure - therefore NASAA have not used own standards.
      I am not saying they did not act in good faith, but with the benefit of hindsight, NASAA may have a case to answer.

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    4. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "....So GM crops are contaminants now. Can we put that in the same file as carbon dioxide being a pollutant?..."

      Yes

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    5. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Any substance that occurs where it is not wanted is a contaminant. A weed is simply a plant in the wrong place. The word, by definition is subjective.

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    6. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Yes. According to all science carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and pollutes the atmosphere's natural make up leading to unnatural heat retention. It is well known und understood by scientists.

      If you cannot understand that a GM crop is a "contaminate" to an organic farmer, I wonder how you were able to achieve the necessary skills to log on and post that silly comment.

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    7. Bill Davis

      Swinburne University, eCommerce/ICT Tutor at Swinburne University

      In reply to grant moule

      Hear hear !!

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    8. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Tony Dickson

      A standard such as the NASAA standard that mentions it many times should have a definition. Shockingly, the standard doesn't. More than a little oversight there!

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    9. Martin Quirke

      Architect (UK Registered), PhD Candidate at University of Newcastle

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Has Australia's judiciary forgotten the founding case in tort law of strict liability?

      In deliberating on the case of Rylands v Fletcher ( http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1868/1.html ) Baron Bramwell declared ""the person who for his own purpose brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief, if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape".

      In…

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    10. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      I don't know how but I somehow managed to muster the skills to log on and comment, so now that I fluked it i may as well ask the question.

      Lets look at Definitions.

      "Contaminate. Make (something) impure by exposure to or addition of a poisonous or polluting substance" Oxford.

      "con·tam·i·nant
      noun \kən-ˈta-mə-nənt\

      : something that makes a place or a substance (such as water, air, or food) no longer suitable for use : something that contaminates a place or substance."

      Now could you please explain what exactly was contaminated bearing in mind that no croos pollination occured and no GM material made its way into Marsh's produce. If you are suggesting that his land was contaminated, what form did this contamination take, how exactly did the presence of GM mateial on Marsh's land contaminate it?

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    11. Rosemary O'Grady

      Lawyer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Hard to u/stand absent a copy of the decision - but: there's lots of old Law (eg about 'escaping' water etc) which might have seemed to have applied. I wonder why not?
      Looks like a peculiar decision - from this distance!

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    12. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      So why are Australian standards for "organic" so much stricter than US and European standards?

      Bad luck run-off from a conventional farm where for example superphosphate is used happens to go across the neighbouring organic grazier's grass then. How ridiculous can you get.

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    13. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Martin Quirke

      But there was no GM material in the organic farmer's produce , so the only harm came from the ridiculously strict notion of 'contamination" - with no measurement etc allowed - by NASAA-much "holier" than even the Europeans.

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    14. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Rosemary O'Grady

      And this issue about escaping water applies to any non-organic farmer whose land is slightly uphill from an organic farmer's - the conventional farmer just using perfectly conventional fertiliser for example - no GM involved - still could be seen to "contaminate" an organic operation. But strangely there have been no court cases about such a happening -so far. Maybe it wasn't the so-called contamination then that was a problem- the war against GM being far more important than alleged "contamination".

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    15. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Martin Quirke

      You are ignoring the Judges explanations for his decision which is clearly that there was no mischief, in this case "contamination". No GM material was in Marsh's produce, therefore no contamination.
      He highlighted that NASAA, according to their own standards should not have withdrawn their certification. As he pointed out clearly, post hoc ergo propter hoc does not indicate Baxters guilt as his certifiers unfounded decisions were the cause of his loss of certification and income. Marsh lost his certification because of a misapplication of standards not because some GM canola seed blew onto his property.

      As for your suggestion of conspiracy, it will stay right there for all to see.

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    16. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to wilma western

      Yes, I wonder why every organic farmer that had material washed onto their farms during the Queensland floods did not have their certification withdrawn.

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    17. John McCormick

      Clinical Nurse Educator

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      So if a farmer plants a legal crop and the wind blows some of his crop into the neighbouring farm then the first farmer is at fault? Why not say the organic farmer is at fault for not keeping the windblown plants from his fields? The legal system is not there to ensure someone's religious purity re organic farming, but to adjudicate if someone does the wrong thing. The organic farmer should have known how canola is farmed, and if worried, not started organic farming beside a canola farm. That's like building a house beside the airport then complaining about the noise.

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    18. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John McCormick

      Under organic standards he in fact has an obligation to make decisions and take action to protect the integrity of his organics. I believe that he did so and so far so good, no contamination just 9 germinated canola plants that did not cross pollinate and no GM material in Marsh's produce. Any rational observer would ask, well what was the problem then.

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    19. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John McCormick

      ".....So if a farmer plants a legal crop and the wind blows some of his crop into the neighbouring farm then the first farmer is at fault? ...."

      Yes, yes he is. I would love to see you pulled over by the police for your load blowing off the back of your trailer. "It's not my fault officer - it's the world's fault for not keeping my load away from the road".

      Idiot.

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    20. Phillip Chalmers

      Doctor at Private and Hospital medicine

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Physicist PhD Grant Burfield does not know about pollen, the sperm of the crop, carrying the modified DNA into the wider environment and thereby contaminating the nearby same species non-modified plants and potentially broadcasting these unnatural and man-made gene into the wider environment.
      Think rabbits or cane toads to Australia.

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    21. Phillip Chalmers

      Doctor at Private and Hospital medicine

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      If I may add, the certification group seems tainted by the totalitarian streak of the devotees of environmentalism.
      They unjustly punished the organic certified farmer for the other farmer allowing material from his fields onto the certified fields.

      Much more discussion and modification of the rules is necessary before the power to certify or cancel certification has become a just and reasonable process.

      Long experience within human history must inform us that the genius of the innovator can grant boon or disaster to the community and conservative caution is totally appropriate as a general rule.

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    22. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Phillip Chalmers

      Correct Dr Chalmers. I only did 1st year biology at Uni and I even passed it! The Krebs cycle, the sequencing of the 4 nucleobases in DNA, the role of RNA in DNA replication was all interesting stuff but I decided to continue on with Maths and Physics. So I'll leave the discussion on this particular post to the more knowledgeable biochemist commenters at the Conversation.

      However I presume you'd agree that Dr Patrick Moore does have qualifications in this area and wonder if you agree with his comment…

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    23. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "....However I presume you'd agree that Dr Patrick Moore does have qualifications in this area...."

      Is that the same Dr Patrick Moore who deniers climate change?

      Yeah - I'll take his word for it.

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    24. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Aha - Mr Swinbourne and his obsession with climate change deniers. Is there a topic left on earth that isn't infected by these heathens?
      Nevertheless, it's great to see we both agree with Dr Moore's sentiments.

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    25. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Good to see you are able to detect sarcasm Grant.

      And I bet that Moore's personal vendetta against Greenpeace has nothing to do with it either, isn't that right?

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    26. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      For 8 cents per person a year we can solve the problems of vitamin A deficiency using existing medical supply chains. Golden rice a sham - and a very expensive one. If the money spent developing this trojan horse had been spent on vit A supplements and education for farmers to grow leafy vegetables, Vit A deficiency would already be significantly reduced. Add to this that there is no distribution mechanism for golden rice - assuming it even works which remains highly debateable. How do you ensure…

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    27. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      Pigs will fly before the street people in big South Asian cities get access to any supplements. It will be ripped off long before the lower caste get it.

      No solution will be the answer, but many. Also before anyone says grow you own vegetables, again where are the landless street people going to do that with any certainty that they will harvest the crop.

      Spend a few days talking with the locals, and checking out what the poor are eating, and their options. Did that last trip.

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    28. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to John Holmes

      Sorry John, the biotech sophistry of 'just one tool in the tool box' doesn't fly. There are existing tools that are effective, affordable and could be distributed through existing supply chains. You don't need another tool - you need a political system that cares enough to use the tool.

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    29. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to grant moule

      I agree Grant. This judgment appears to conclude that when my neighbour lights a fire to burn stumps on a very windy day, and a grass -fire runs onto my property from the burning stump pile while my neighbour eats his lunch at home is merely an Act of God and not negligence.

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    30. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Phillip Chalmers

      Hi Dr Phil, just a small point. They are not unnatural or man made genes.

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    31. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Poor analogy, does not work at all, the fire caused damage, the GM material did not. Not a single grain of GM material made it into Marsh's produce and there was no contamination.

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    32. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      Yet when that fails, so nothing can be done??

      This is my fundamental objection to your comment. The basic assumption that GMO's are all so bad and dangerous, therefore any use of that technology must be banned world wide. So the bulk of the insulin used would also be banned?

      This is also a bit like demanding all non Kosher or Halal foods be removed from the market. Note that there can be kick backs to ensure that those foods are properly certified.

      I got problems with that, as you are quite…

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    33. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to wilma western

      Uhm ... this happens Wilma. Some years ago my neighbour put out super-P at 3 bags/acre. IT rained appropriately, and my school Science group picked up a huge P contribution downstream from his property. Really, it was a "waste" of money per unit retained.

      However, the matter of water damage caused by natural water flows diverted by man made structures is another matter, and usually the liability of the landholder diverting the natural flow.

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    34. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Uhm Chris, I demur. The 'damage' caused was to the organic farmer by losing his Organic Producer Certification. This is a quantifiable amount. The causal agent for that loss was GM biological material moving over the boundary because the GM grower had failed to contain the pollen form GM crops.

      The GM grower knew, or should have known, that the usual farming practices exposed his OP neighbour to risk of contamination and apparently did little or nothing to prevent that contamination and consequent loss.

      Next you will be telling us that the development of pesticide resistant food crops is 'good science' rather than the prostitution of science for corporate profit.

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    35. Phillip Chalmers

      Doctor at Private and Hospital medicine

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Are you certain they are not man-made?
      Could you supply the authoritative reference for the biological source of the gene as my source says otherwise?

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    36. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Why do people who have absolutely no knowledge of the case feel the need to pretend that they do. I repeat, there was no cross pollination.

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    37. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Phillip Chalmers

      Don't waste my time Phillip, google man made genes then get back to me if you still don't understand. When you do, just tell me what gm trait event you would like the info for. We can go through them one at a time together.

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    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Oliver H A Dowding

      Another other than organic grower Marsh suing his GM growing neighbour Baxter is a misrepresentation.

      As far as cross pollination goes, you clearly dont accept the science so I'll play along for a moment. Consider then that a farmer invests in roundup ready canola and his organic growing neighbour doesn't. The organic growers canola that cannot resist roundup "contaminates" (read Pollinates) the GM growers crop. So now the GM grower wants to save seed for next year but the efficacy of roundup resistance is lost due to cross pollination, he sprays his crop and kills it. Should he be able to sue his organic neighbour?

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    2. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      I see what you are saying and it does make one think, however natural selection works in favour of the GM supply. Round up wold kill off the other variety. Any cross-pollination would head down the line of making all of the crop resistant, not the other way. Having a natural plant 'contaminate' a GM crop would be no different than the weeds contaminating it. They would be killed off and logic suggests that natural plants cannot "contaminate' unnatural ones.

      Besides that, the 'hypothetical' situation is invalid. As part of their business plan, the Biotech companies don't allow farmers to save and reuse seeds. They must purchase and pay a licence fee each time. Therefore any 'contamination' would end with each crop. The farmers not using GM crops would save their seeds for reuse and their next crops would contain GM components. It is an anology that does not work in any reality.

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    3. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Jan Smith

      Cleverly twisted by whom? March and his certifier march arm in arm supported by the organic industry and groups such as the safe food foundation who elicit the help of celebrity gardeners and chefs in a media campaign against GM cropping.

      Read the judges determination, he has not missed the point but considered it at great length. The court case however was to determine if Baxter was responsible for Marsh's financial losses and the answer is clearly no.

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    4. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Jan Smith

      So both farmers have the same rights . But the only reason the organic farmer's rights were interfered with was the unreasonable decision of NASAA based on a standard that is impossible to apply sensibly.

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    5. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Good for you Chris and don't forget the NASAA standard would threaten lots of organic farmers who happen to have ordinary conventional non-GM farms next door . Or the "strict liability" issue if applied would impinge on the conventional famers however conscientious if an unexpected rainfall event for example caused run-off to go onto the organic neighbour's place.

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    6. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      ***** apologies, should read "any portrayal other than......"

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    7. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to wilma western

      It surely is plainly ridiculous. If an organic grower had a market for a particular heritage / heirloom open pollinated variety and his organic neighbour had a market for another heritage variety and they cross pollinated would they sue each other as they couldn't maintain their line by saving seed?

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    8. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to wilma western

      That is clearly a bigger threat to the livelihood of organic growers than any neighbour growing GM.

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    9. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      It is interesting with all your comments professing knowledge you show a lack of understanding of the licencing requirements of RR Canola.

      You are not allowed to keep the seed for next year sowing.

      Really this case shouldn't have pitted farmer against farmer. It should have dealt with inadequate laws and buffer standards of government regulators.

      It is about choice and this ruling goes a bit closer to removing your choice.

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    10. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      I'm not sure where you get that idea from Don, are you not familiar with the term hypothetical?

      Seems like the Laws are adequate, there was no contamination.

      Choice? Marsh was trying to stop Baxter from exercising his right to grow GM.

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    11. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris, your hypothetical is invalid due to the current licencing for RR Canola. It is illegal to save seed. All must be sold. Therefore your hypothetical has no place in reality. If you are going to use a hypothetical to support your argument, please make sure it is realistic.

      I won't argue there was no contamination in this case, but it would be interesting to see how long before your roadsides are full of RR Canola, and

      The choice I was referring to is my choice to buy non GMO products. There again that is simple... don't buy anything with canola in. Labelling laws need to keep up with the technological developments of food additives.

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    12. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Many fine cross-bred cultivars have been produced by this out-breeding methodology.

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    13. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      Yes it it but not just for that reason but also for the leading hypothetical that crosspollination of canola beyond what has been determined by experts in the field is likely. The whole hypothetical does not pass the reality test and has been abandoned.

      RR canola has already been found on road edges etc, and the problem is? There are other herbicides to deal with that.

      You have a choice to not buy GM products, that choice is organic.

      As for canola oil, genes code for proteins, as the oil contains no protein there is no DNA therfore no GM regardless of whether it was grown with GM seed or not.

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    14. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris said "RR canola has already been found on road edges etc, and the problem is? There are other herbicides to deal with that."

      Does this mean that the 5m buffer could in theory be negated due to GM escapees?

      Chris also wrote "You have a choice to not buy GM products, that choice is organic."

      To extend this argument a little, and Chris you have suggested this. The solution to contamination from the GM proponents is to water down the organic certification and allow 5% of foreign (GM) product…

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    15. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      The 5 meter buffer is for cross pollination while the GM canola found on roadsides was from well documented seed spillages. Two very different things.

      If you have any science showing that the trace amounts of roundup in produce below MR levels is causing any harm to human health feel free to present it here and also send it to the relative authorities, I'm sure they, like I, would love to see it.

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  1. Chris Kelly

    Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

    The problems with organic certification, particularly at NASAA, run deeper and are clearly anti-science and modern medicine. Their standards explicitly recommend the use of homeopathy to treat sick and injured animals. This is the same as no treatment at all which of course is an animal welfare issue.

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    1. grant moule

      Consultant

      In reply to John Campbell

      This case is not about organic vs GM food, it's simply about allowing a farmer to grow his crops without any negative impact from what his neighbour is growing. In this case, GM crops.

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    2. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Campbell

      Just as much as there is an any other particular line of Canola.

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    3. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      "t is a statistic that is hard to deny: industrial forms of agriculture, with emphasis on large-scale monoculture crop production, have a negative impact on biodiversity. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, referring to the scale of the loss as “extensive,” found that some 75 percent of plant genetic diversity has been lost since 1900 as farmers turn to genetically uniform, mass-produced crop varieties. - See more at: http://gmo-journal.com/2011/06/17/loss-of-biodiversity-and-genetically-modified-crops/#sthash.Kbewnhh0.dpuf";

      What exactly did you say your expertise was Chris?

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    4. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Campbell

      That is not the question you asked John and I really shouldn't have to point out to you that just as Shirley's argument against glyphosate is not an argument against GM, neither is an argument against mono-cropping. Organic production also uses mono-cropping and have "industrial" production systems. You may make an good argument against the practice and as long as you stuck to facts i would support it.

      GM traits such as Bt would be very beneficial in mixed cropping systems but unfortunately…

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  2. Grant Burfield

    Dr

    It is fascinating and more than a little amusing to sit back and watch the deniers of science pop out of the woodwork whenever GM is brought up. Never mind the judge or this case in particular, Dr Patrick Moore says all that needs to be said -

    "It was 10 years after I left Greenpeace when the first genetically modified crops were introduced. Almost immediately Greenpeace came out in opposition to this scientific breakthrough, stating that they would rip the new crops out of the ground if anyone…

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    1. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Yes, I would be an obvious and natural supporter of Greenpeace but for their dogmatic anti-GM stance.

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      ".....It is fascinating and more than a little amusing to sit back and watch the deniers of science pop out of the woodwork whenever GM is brought up....."

      And BOOOOM! My irony meter just exploded with this post from a science denier.

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    3. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Terrible isn't it. "Deniers of the Science" and "Deniers of the Consensus" wherever you look. (-;)
      Sorry about your irony meter though. Are they costly to replace?

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  3. Mike Jubow

    Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

    The whole case brought to court was irrational. See; http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/news/agriculture/cropping/general-news/baxter-wins-gm-case/2700017.aspx?storypage=2

    There were only nine (yes 9) GM plants grew on Marshes property. They were identified 12 monthes after the harvest on Baxters property. One would have thought a reasonable man would have pulled them out and had a friendly word with his neighbour about it. But, No, he had to report it to the organic certifier who promptly…

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  4. Steve Davis

    Brian Surgeon

    Fantastic, Now I can walk around and blow cigarette smoke in people's faces and no one can complain.

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  5. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    I have not seen stated anywhere what the organic farmer was growing. Was it canola or something else? It does not seem to be claimed that some fraction of his crop was pollenated with GM pollen causing it to express whatever transgene was in the the GM crop. It only seems to be claimed that some of the cut GM canola crop blew into the neighbouring field.
    Unless he experienced substantial GM pollination of an organic canola crop I can't see that the organic farmer has much to complain about. If he has a legal complaint it seems it should be against the organic certification organisation for unreasonable and excessively stringent application of their guidelines leading to a loss to the organic farmer from his loss of certification.

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    1. Robert Hewitt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      His statement to the court says that he has never planted canola. There was no pollen spread, the 8 volunteer plants discovered in 2011 came as a result of canola swathes having blown into his paddocks during 2010. Rather than pick them up and remove them when they were noted, they were left in position until NASAA could decide on what to do with them. If he had removed the swathes when they were originally noticed, it is unlikely that the seed pods would have dried, split and thus allowed seed to be dispersed.

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  6. Peter Campbell

    Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

    I would like to be able to buy GM products that have also been certified as grown according to organic principles. For example, some kinds of genetic modification causes a crop to produce a protein that is very specific to killing a major pest of that plant and harmless to anything else. Any crop residues on the soil compost harmlessly, including the pesticidal protein. The consequence is that a high yield is possible without using chemical pesticides to control the major pest.
    In the absence of…

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    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Well said. Have you read Tomorrow's Table by GM scientist Pamela Ronald and her organic farming husband? Guess who refuses to accept this kind of thing, thats right, Big Organic.

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    2. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Peter Campbell

      Indeed Peter, there are genetic manipulation techniques that can enhance food plants growth rates substantially. As an example, I wonder what the reaction would there be from the Anti-GM lobby, to sweet corn that had the codon for Indole Acetic Acid snipped out and multiple replications of the gene reimplanted in the DNA. We could have a faster growing plant that would have higher yield potentials.

      Or maybe we could re-insert the entire genome of that same sweet corn and have a hybrid that would definitely be more vigorous and much higher yielding.

      In neither case, is a foreign gene or DNA being inserted into the plant but it is still Genetically Modified. I presume that the anti-GM lobby would still make their irrational claims that the produce from such a plant is poisonous.

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    3. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      You presume that, and do so in such a dismissive and adversarial way, because it suits you emotionally to do so.

      From that aggressive stance you will then deride the 'irrationallity' of any anti-GM response to it. That's really not a great way to advance the enlightened and nuanced dialogue that you are implying is needed.

      I'm also amused by your example. More vigorous and higher yield broad-acre corn. Great! We can then have even more fat, sluggish Americans and extend obesity and type 2 diabetes even further into the developing world. Awesome outcome!

      The thing that most disturbs me about pro-GMO evangelism is its complete lack of any holistically cogent view regarding the broader meaning, purpose or quality of life. Its adherents seem to be paddling about in a very shallow philosophical pond. Bigger, faster, greater seems to be about the extent of it.

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    4. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Greg, you did not address the point of my post which was in the last sentence. Would the anti-GM lobby still claim the sort of genetic manipulation I was talking about, was poisonous? Would they be totally and absolutely against it? If so what is the reasoning for that? Similarly, why is the anti-GM lobby against the insertion of genes to make crop plants salt and drought tolerant? Often the genes that have these properties come from ancient or precursor plants from the same genus. Why should they be banned by your groups? What is detrimental about this sort of technology? Doubling of the genetic complement happens in nature, so why is this banned by anti-GMers when we fast track natural events?

      Answer these questions logically, addressing the questions only, and I will stop calling anti-GMers, irrational, illogical, poorly informed and anti-science and a few more things.

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    5. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Um Greg, do you know the difference between the 'broad-acre corn' varieties grown this way and sweet corn?

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    6. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Of course i didn't address the point in your last paragraph. I was responding to the un-necessarily aggressive framing of your proposition. Get my point? Or is it your point, in actual fact, to only talk to 'your own side' by way of variously lambasting the 'other'? The last paragraph of your reply suggests this even more strongly than your first comment.

      On this perceived duality, what do you mean by, "Why should they be banned by 'my' groups?
      What groups are these? I'm not aware that I have any…

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    7. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Mr Wood - "The problem herein is that ultimately, more food will not adequately feed the more people that necessarily erupt due to such increased provenance. Only a competent commitment to having less people abound will see everyone properly fed."

      The mapping between the set of neo-malthusians and the set of the anti-GM "putsch" is a demonstrably bijective function.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bijection,_injection_and_surjection

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    8. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      As I thought, the anti-GM lobby cannot produce a scientific or practical argument that supports the banning of GM products in a rational manner nor can they argue on a scientific basis. None of your statements rise above the emotional, and irrational state. Pity, I would have liked to see some well reasonable statements.

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    9. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Thanks for your opinion based upon your conveniently redacted view of what is, and what is not, 'real' and/or relevant. I will file it appropriately.

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    10. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Do you have any useful background to this opinion? Some elements might include:

      The point of it?
      The way in which a conservative stance ('anti-GM') could possibly engender a putsch?
      A plausible scenario for mapping the myriad issues at large within the 'anti GM' spectrum as being bijective to the relatively narrow concerns elucidated within malthusian thought?

      I agree that my quoted point is notionally 'neo-malthusian', although that term is commonly employed to summarily denigrate and dismiss…

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    11. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Grant, it seems that neither science, rationality nor logic will top emotional abuse in support of the anti-GM lobby if Mr Wood is a representative example of them. It is a shame that we have to give any consideration to the blockage of science by such attitudes. Where we would try to improve the lot of the common man with science, these people would block it for no truly explainable reason.

      What is it, that causes otherwise normal, well educated people to behave in this irrational, illogical manner?

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    12. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      What arrogance and fundamental ignorance of the way in which contemporary science and technology are increasingly controlled by corporate interests with little interest in 'improving the lot of the common man'.

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  7. Liz Bassett

    logged in via Facebook

    "In fact there has been no authenticated example of any harm to people caused by eating GM crops; in contrast, there are many examples of harm resulting from people eating organic produce."

    Here's where you lost me - surely you are conflating different sorts of harm?

    And the harm from eating organic would be ? choking? Unhygenic storage ? In other words, such harm as could befall eaters of any sort of food, including GM?

    Isn't this equivalent to saying wind farms never hurt anybody; in contrast, many people have been hurt by electricity.

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    1. Ross Holding

      Agricultural Research Consultant

      In reply to Liz Bassett

      53 people in Germany died in 2011 from eating organic bean sprouts.

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    2. Georg Antony

      analyst

      In reply to Liz Bassett

      Organic production, by definition, must use fertilizers from organic sources. These are typically composts from a range of sources, mostly animal manure, in some countries possibly human waste. Inadequate composting allows the survival of pathogens.

      Recent deaths in Germany were traced to eating organic sprouts http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jun/10/e-coli-bean-sprouts-blamed.

      When it comes to veges eaten raw, hydroponic farms are a much safer source than organic ones. Taste is another matter.

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    3. Andrew Winter

      -

      In reply to Liz Bassett

      Glad someone picked up on that unsubstantiated claim as well.

      I note the German case posted below, although will point out that the article says it was 'highly probable' the contamination was caused at the organic farm.

      Are there any more substantial examples to support the author's original statement?

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    4. David Maddern

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Georg Antony

      There is also the simple expedient of washing vegetables that might have helped there.

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    5. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Liz Bassett

      There was a case where organic orange juice supplied on a Qantas flight resulted in people contracting salmonella poisoning.

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  8. Steven Fuller

    Asset Management

    Rubbish. 0% of GM contamination is certainly achievable. We had it for thousands of years. During this time farmers rotated crops, saved seeds for replanting and protected the biodiversity of crops. Now, GM crops are used in third world countries to grow food for livestock of developed countries depriving those in most need of food source.

    GM biotech companies (Monsanto etc) have used less than genuine tactics to push their products onto farmers. Farmers are no longer allowed to save seeds for…

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    1. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      In support of Steven, I would add the following perspective.
      This business model of Monsanto and other companies is not new. During the “Green revolution” of the 1960’s, huge gains were made in farming productivity around the world and particularly in developing countries. This “revolution” was based on more conventional plant breeding techniques and cloning.

      Along with increased productivity came some less positive outcomes. These included the inability of farmers to save seed from sterile clones…

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    2. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Actually the rise of of Roundup ready crops pushed out of the market place a number of herbicides. Glyphosate in glyphosate tolerant crops did control most if not all of the common weeds in those crops. Not other herbicides could achieve that in one shot.

      Now that some weeds have become tolerant to glyphosate - despite the claims made early in the marketing phases of those GMO's many of these older chemicals are now being 'dusted off'. Some are no longer available.

      Re keeping seed - some varieties are hybrids so that using seed from those hybrids will result in a paddock uneven plants as the genes segregate out - just the penalty of exploiting hybrid vigor. Others like canola can after some time accumulate a significant % of plants which have higher than desirable levels of erucic acid which was why Canola was bred in the first place.

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    3. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Let me get this straight GM crops are somehow no good because they are grown for feeding livestock? If you try limiting your argument to problems specific to GM then you might find an argument woth considering.

      Noone is twisting any farmers arm to grow GM crops, they enter into single use agreements voluntarily and do so despite higher seed costs because of the advantages it provides.

      No innocent farmer is taken to court for accidental presence of GM plants, only those who have intentionally…

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    4. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Tony Dickson

      Psst, you forgot to mention that the green revoloution prevented up to a billion human deaths.

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    5. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      No, I love beef! A good friend of mine travels to South America regularly, he deals in grain (mostly soy I think) and often comments on starving people living nearby, even working the land where crops are grown for animal consumption. It is an oft miquoted benefit that GM crops can solve third world hunger issues, the reality is the contrary. The introduction of GM crops is the only reason that is commercially viable to grow livestock grain on fertile land that could grown food for hungry humans…

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    6. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Problem. For most of Australian farming "conventional" is the status quo or norm actually - and natural events could cause "contact" of "non-organic" substances with an organic farmer's property without any actual impact on the organic produce.

      There are already standards re spray drift that apply to all farmers (even organic ones using copper products) but what about other possible "contact"that could theoretically breach NASAA"s "standard"???

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    7. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      The green revolution directly enabled a substantial increase in the global population. It has also driven the displacement of production for local consumption by cash cropping.

      So really you'd have to say that the green revolution has been directly responsible for billions of deaths.

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    8. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      No, I didn't mention a speculative figure for lives saved by the Green Revolution, I contented myself with the less fragile statement that "huge gains were made in farming productivity around the world and particularly in developing countries." I rather thought that readers may be able to join the dots.
      I have deliberately taken a non partisan position in my comments with respect to the pros and cons of GM. My concern is the dangers to food security, environmental values, and democratic process posed by the inexorable corporatisation of global agriculture.

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    9. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      My point being that just because GM technology is used for feed for livestock is not an argument against GM as it is not specific to GM. You made a logical error.

      Organic is by no means the status quo. It is a brand, a marketing scheme with strict rules that have not existed before, that also allows the use of pesticides that never existed before.

      Have you got citations of organic farmers losing certification due to cross pollination? Cheers. If you are aware of the Schmeiser case you will know that was compensated for cross pollination and you will also know that was found to be a thief, intentionally selecting resistant seed by spraying roundup and then seeding his property with the resistant seed.

      It does not matter what people are voting in Sth America, the technology is not commercially available. I am interested to hear why you think GURT is a bad thing anyway especially considering your concern with pollen flow.

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    10. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Greg you really want to adopt the feeding people who would otherwise have perished is a bad thing argument?

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    11. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      My actual premise is that population overshoot and associated famine is not fixed by simply engineering an exponential increase to the food supply. That merely escalates the scale of the overshoot and kicks the famine can further down the road where it then looms even larger than before.

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    12. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Greg Wood

      I agree. This is very difficult moral terrain. Essentially we are back to Hardin’s argument in “The Tragedy of the Commons”, that ultimately these are cultural problems that have no technological solutions in the long term.

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  9. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    ‘ In fact there has been no authenticated example of any harm to people caused by eating GM crops; in contrast, there are many examples of harm resulting from people eating organic produce.’

    OK Professor Jones, I’ll supply you with plenty of evidence of harm caused by GM if you can supply me with harm caused by eating organic food.

    Here’s is the link to the second edition of a study entitled GMO Myths and Truths written by genetic engineers, Dr Mike Antoniou and Dr John Fagan and Dr Claire Robinson…

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    1. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      And I presume you know everything about the Vedas Chris, or are you just having a little laugh at the quaint Indians.

      Some years ago I was hospitalised in New Delhi having caught hepatitis in Afghanistan. I was placed under the care of a doctor who was versed in Ayurvedic and western medicine. He treated me with a combination of both. Subsequent doctors have been astonished that the hepatitis had left not a trace on my liver

      Another Indian story. Travelling by train there I started talking to…

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    2. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      I don't need to know the details of the Vedas to spot a logical fallacy John.

      I love your Ayurvedic medicine story too but if you are claiming efficacy then you have made an illogical leap.

      If Fagan is "onto something" then you better nominate him for a Nobel prize in science because he has rewritten a number of scientific fields.

      And for your last logical fallacy, glyphosate =/= GM. It exists without it and will continue to exist if GM cropping stopped.

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    3. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris
      the development of GM allowed Monsanto to require the use of roundup tank mixes as part of the contractual arrangement. Although glyphosate was out of patent - Monsanto ensured that their glyphosate would be used on gm crops. This was a huge benefit to Monsanto as roundup was - and now remains - their largest revenue source.
      Equating glyphosate and GM is not far fetched - it's not an absolute correlation, but it's not far off either.

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    4. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      Let me make this as simple as i can. If GM cropping were to cease, Roundup would still be used. The existence of roundup is not inextricably linked to GM therefore Johns argument against GM because of Roundup is logically flawed. Millions of Non GM farmers uses roundup every day.

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    5. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      But only till there are no plants left which are not tolerant to it. Sure our wide spread broad-area use in non GMO situations is generating a large number of populations of a range of plants.
      Red Brome grass was announced very recently in WA, seems to be the first one. See the May E-weed for a current summary of populations of glyphosate resistant populations of various weeds. Barring the revelation of serious health or environmental issues which to date have not been obvious, it will have a use for some time. The proportion of product sold in 1000L containers will probably decrease.

      The replacement systems - with a steady reduction in Ag R&D as well, interesting times coming.

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    6. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      And that is part of the problem Chris. Roundup used to kill the plant before you could eat it. Now it is in the plant you eat. Roundup is patented as an antibiotic by Monsanto. So do we now have mass medication of the population that eat these Roundup tolerant plants?

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    7. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Thanks.

      Got chastised for saying much the same thing on another TC conversation re this situation and that term recently.

      Should we be surprised that when we create highly suitable conditions for our crops, that other plants will not also grow well? Any plant which survives to set seed has the chance to adapt to the new situation.

      So the should the adaptation be seeds sensitive a flash of light which occurs during cultivation, or the current herbicide, or even hand weeding, should we be surprised. "Just doing what comes naturally'.

      Gregory Thomas Hargreaves comment below is rather appropriate.

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    8. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Sure but with the exception of GM cotton the only GM seeds in use are Glyphosate resistant. Which is why 2,4-D is now being considered as a replacement. The glyphosate is no longer working, weeds are becoming resistant..

      And once again, am I to assume you've read Fagan's book?

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    9. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      I should read a book with contents that contradict the laws of physics?

      You obviously have not heard about virus resistant papaya and zucchini.

      Regardless of the use of roundup in GM crops, the existence of them is not the cause of the use of roundup, nor is it necessary for the continued use. Your failure to accept or recognise that you have made an error of logic is telling.

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    10. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to John Newton

      2,4-D et al is no way like a full replacement for Glyphosate. It has been used for some time in cereals (> 60 years) and other situations as they control a range of broadleaved weeds, but are not useful on grass weeds.. Cereals are naturally tolerant of these chemicals during parts of their growth, and usage has/is been very extensive in the winter cereal growing areas.

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    11. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to John Holmes

      Thanks for that John, nevertheless, it seems Syngenta is contemplating its use

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    12. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      That's fine with me but not I'm not sure how you can condemn a book without reading it.

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    13. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to John Newton

      So is Dow. Not fully up to date with the details. For corn probably to improve the tolerance of very young seedlings, for broadleaved crops, it would be useful to widen the range of modes of action on some broadleaved weeds. It would also reduce risks from spray drift from use in adjacent paddocks. This group of herbicides are also quite synergistic when used in mixtures for some situations.

      This is the alternative to developing new chemistry, to adapt existing crops to robust chemistry. As with triazine tolerant canola, or Imi tolerant crops, the methodology may not require the use of GM.

      However, weeds developing resistance to 2,4-D has been a much slower process cf Glyphosate, yet the 'Empire' is fighting back. More use, more resistance to that methodology.

      What we need is far more 'disruptive farming systems' to mange weeds. Food may become more expensive so that farms can still be viable.

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    14. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      Easy, if you tell me to read a book telling me the world is flat despite of everything scientific endeavor has discovered i don't have to read that ether to k ow it is bullshit. Fagan and his anti-GM mate Jeffrey Smith also think they can levitate, should i read any book they put out on how to do it?

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    15. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      Chris Kelly should be embarrassed - his fabrications are hilarious.

      Glyphosate resistant super weeds have proliferated since the advent of GM roundup ready crops. Glyphosate resistant weeds in the US are increasing at an alarming rate.

      http://www.weedscience.com/summary/MOA.aspx?MOAID=12

      2) Australia has the second highest herbicide resistant weed species in the world. US: 145, Australia: 69, Canada, 60.

      The US is a mess therefore it's time to kick its worst hit and run corporate polluters out from down under - Monsanto et al.

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    16. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I would be a little embarrassed if you presented some data that contradicts anything I have said Shirley but until that time I remain comfortable, if not a little smug.

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    17. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris it is good that MRL's exist.

      But why is the promoter of RR canola applying for a 1500X increase in the MRL of glyphosate in food in the EU.

      At present the MRL for Glyphosate in most foods is 0.1 - 0.5mg/kg but for oilseed it is 10 - 20mg/kg.
      Why such a large difference?
      Will the antibiotic affect of Glyphosate be a problem?

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    18. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      "I would be a little embarrassed if you presented some data that contradicts anything I have said Shirley...."

      I just did. It's called "Weedscience."

      Do you understand the term: "EPSP synthase inhibitors?""

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    19. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Psst, Shirley, quote me then demonstrate how your article shows I was wrong. Posting a link and proclaiming a victory is just plain silly.

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    20. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      "For alternative enforcement residue definitions “sum of glyphosate and N-acetyl-glyphosate, expressed as glyphosate” and “N-acetyl-glyphosate, expressed as glyphosate”, a MRL proposal of 20 mg/kg is derived. Based on the risk assessment results, EFSA concludes that residues of glyphosate in genetically modified rape seed containing the gat gene will not result in a consumer exposure exceeding the toxicological reference values and therefore is unlikely to pose a public health concern."

      http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3456.htm

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    21. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Correct, but only on the premise that it (glyphosate) doesn't bio-accumulate. Which it seems it does!

      There is some information for you to research. Don't just say it is BS from an activists site without doing your research. I would think the 'good scientist' in you would be sceptical enough to question everything.

      http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/glyphosate_testing_results

      Remember... 'we don't know what we don't know'

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    22. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      Moms across america! Does it not ever cross your mind why you cannot go straight to the scientific source. There are trace amounts many substances found in breast milk and urine Don, the question is if they are biologically significant, if they cause any harm. Feel free to present the science showing harm to consumers of food containing trace amounts of roundup.

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    23. Bob Phelps

      Director at Gene Ethics

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      An application to increase the MRL for glyphosate residues in canola from 2mg/kg to 20mg/kg, and in wheat from 5mg/kg to 7mg/kg http://www.apvma.gov.au/registration/assessment/docs/tan_glyphosate_may_2014.pdf is open for public comment until June 25!!
      Note that MRLs are based on corporate data, so-called 'Good Agricultural Practice' to get optimum weed and insect kills on farms, and are NOT human or animal health and safety standards.
      The document open for review has as its main concern, whether or not higher MRLs will leave residues that are acceptable to other countries importing our oilseeds and grains.

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    24. Bob Phelps

      Director at Gene Ethics

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      And what is that reason from your point of view Chris?

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    25. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Don Woodcock

      I have very good reason to disregard MAM as the antiscientific idiots they are. Last year they presented what they called data that was supposed to compare the nutritional content of GM corn vs organic corn. You can find it yourself by googling "stunning corn camparision". Anyone with the most basic scientific literacy can see that this is not a comparision of corn but an extermely poorly fabricated soil analysis. This was pointed out to them numerous times by myself, Kevin Folta and others but they stand by it. It is a complete joke and they are a joke organisation.

      http://kfolta.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/fake-anti-gmo-data-stokes-alarm.html

      As for the recent "study" that isnt a study

      http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/05/06/mass-general-pediatrics-chief-says-glyphosate-poses-no-danger-in-breast-milk/

      Persisting in posting links to those loonies does your argument no good at all and exposes you as one who does not bother to check their sources.

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    26. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      "Posting a link and proclaiming a victory is just plain silly." Exactly Chris so why were you just plain silly? http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2013/05/superweed/

      And you evaded my question. In addition, you claimed that "the existence of roundup is not inextricably linked to GM” despite the evidence at “weedscience."

      That compelling evidence reveals that roundup resistant weeds are linked to the advent of GM crops though I suspect you are aliterate - the definition being: "can read, but too…

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    27. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Thanks for your reply Shirley, now as you have failed to quote me in entirity I am compelled to do so myself.

      "Psst, Shirley, quote me then demonstrate how your article shows I was wrong. Posting a link and proclaiming a victory is just plain silly."

      You see that first little bit Shirley, did you miss that by accident? It is rather critical would you not agree? You will have to work a lot harder to contrive your "Gotcha" moments. Good luck.

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    28. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Nice thesis re the absence of observable Glyphosate resistance in any weeds prior to 1996. Seeds were collected from a 1995 crop for evaluation. Note also that Glyphosate did not come into wide use in cereals till the early 80's. There were some teething problems. It was also used for pasture topping from about 1983-4 on as the price dropped. Can be a bit rough on the clovers though.

      Not taken fully into account, was the change in planting systems in the late 70’s and into the 80's and 90's…

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    29. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      For the third time Shirley, quote me where you think I have made an error and show how your link to weed science highlights this. You are either building a straw man using a non sequitur or your comprehension skills are sorely lacking.

      As you have highlighted yourself, glyphosate has been used as a herbicide since the 1970's, 20 years before the use of GM RR technology. It is also used today outside of GM cropping and will continue to be used if GM RR cropping disappeared. This in itself is evidence…

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    30. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Holmes

      Yes, the value of the cropping system in reducing soil erosion is somehow overlooked by those proclaiming to be defenders of the environment.

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    31. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris Kelly gives readers one easy lesson on how to cut a dash in Swahili:

      @ Chris Kelly: “The existence of roundup is not inextricably linked to GM.”

      The statement above would have to be the most unintelligible crock on the thread since the existence of roundup is inextricably linked to both GM and non-GM crops. However, I imagine readers would be accustomed to innuendos where loopholes leave room for an escape and prattling polemics?

      Consider the following:

      @ Chris Kelly - In reply…

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    32. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      @ Chris Kelly “But then you go on about causation being GM crops, this is not demonstrated in your link. Your link does not refute a single thing that I have stated.”

      Oh yes it does. Weed proliferation occurred post GM crops.

      Peer reviewed evidence published by reputable plant scientists, geneticists, toxicologists and criminologists is in direct contrast to that peddled by the banditry lurking behind the GM behemoth:

      Ignorami, sycophants, bagmen, eco-vandals and outright frauds - a collection…

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    33. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Again Shirley show how the link you provided showed that anything I or Andrew Kneiss in the link i provided is wrong. Who said GM cropping has not brought about some resistant weeds? As i said stop arguing with yourself (your strawman), you just look silly.

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    34. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      I see you've set aside this special time to again humiliate yourself in public. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth - that is if you felt any shame in peddling obfuscation and industry propaganda.

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    35. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I recommend for you a course in logic and reasoning with particular attention to comprehension. Try it, then you might be able to take baby steps in defending your ideology.

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    36. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      A poseur afflicted with cognitive dissonance leads one to a verbose propagandist who's incapable of digesting the contents in peer reviewed papers. .

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    37. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Digesting the contents of peer reviewed papers is a key component of my job Shirley, its what I'm paid to do and your taxes pay for my salary.

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    38. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      There is not a virus resistant Pawpaw if there is Glyphosate
      in the soil. In Western Australia you are fortunate to have soils rich in clay and lime. But Glyphosate will destroy your land, it just takes
      longer.

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    39. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Rotha Jago

      This is a word salad, please try again.

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  10. Eleanor Hobley

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    It would have been nice for the author to disclose the fact that he is involved in GM (google Nemgenix, his affiliation). I think the bias behind his stance would then be apparent.

    I am not convinced that GM is a contaminant, nor that the process for organic food certification is correct. I do, however, believe that the evidence of human history overwhelmingly shows that we are not cautious enough with our environment. This is reflected in the current state of environment globally. Given the newness of GM, we should adopt the stance that is is highly likely to have environmental impacts which may be unascertainable for many years or decades, and therefore adopt a cautionary approach to its use and exposure in the environment.

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    1. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Eleanor Hobley

      Ah, excellent work Eleanor. Over many years of following the GM debate i have invariably found that its most strident apologists are also involved in and profit from the industry.

      Please have a look at the report that I posted above GMO Myths and Truths. It is, as I said, science.

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    2. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Eleanor Hobley

      Funny that people blame modern agriculture for wrecking the environment and ignore the desertification and erosion that has been docemunted from early history and recent examples(such as the Victorian Mallee in the 1930's and 40's).

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    3. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to wilma western

      Ha! Modern agriculture is not to blame. Greed is.

      Over farming, overpopulation, cash cropping etc. Societies that understood biodiversity and farmed what they needed have been sustainable for 100s of years.

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    4. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Eleanor Hobley

      In regards to disclosure. Scroll back up to the top of the article, see there, on the left. What does it say?

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    5. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      Over many years of following the GM debate, i have invariably found that its most strident critics are also involved in and profit from the organic industry. You see what I did there?

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    6. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      It says the author is "affiliated" with Nemgenix when in fact the author is co-founder of Nemgenix which "has been awarded numerous government grants."

      Why the omission when TC boasts "academic rigour?"

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    7. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to wilma western

      Agree totally. No more dust storms at the break of the season in WA as in the 50's and 60's now that we are direct drilling and using stubble retention etc.

      Not a modern issue, the Roman's demand for grain damaged the cereal growing areas of the Middle East and Norther Africa. Eroded slopes with deposition on the valley floors.

      Similar discussion for Central America re some pre Invasion agriculture systems and civilization collapses.

      With current technology, it was demonstrated with NoTill etc that the rate of soil erosion was reduced in a cropping trial in the Avon Valley to less than that of the soil formation rate.

      Glyphosate is a key herbicide used to kill all weeds prior to planting. Now that the weeds are adapting, Next? Just man versus weeds round what? 20,000. At least roughly appropriate for the length of time the agriculture we are using which is based on that which was commenced in the ME.

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  11. John Kerr

    IT Education

    I am undecided on GM crops, however, I am against the technique used by Monsanto in the USA and wonder whether this case is a precursor. From what I have read, the same situation in the USA would be treated differently. The 'normal' farmer gets traces of GM crop in his crop. Traditional farmers save some of the seed from their crop for planting the next season. Monsanto step in, show that the saved seed has some of 'their' GM seed in it and threaten to take the farmer to court for using 'their' seed without paying for it. The majority of farmers do not have the finance to fight a corporate bully in the courts and therefore they are forced to either grow some other sort of crop, pay Monsanto or not grow anything. If that's what the end game is here then I would be very opposed to it. Do we know what was agreed to in the Free Trade agreement in relation to this sort of thing?

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    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Kerr

      Hi Jon, please cite a single case of a farmer getting sued for accidental presence of GM on their farms. Cheers.

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    2. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      I asked for a case where a farmer was sued for accidental presence not a guy that was found guilty of intentionally stealing the technology.

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    3. John Kerr

      IT Education

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      From memory, the original articles I read were some time ago and in a journal, however, here are a few Internet articles which indicate the problem and some give the number of farmers sued. Obviously some of these would have been deliberately planting GM seeds but it seems that Monsanto has realised that many people think that Monsanto suing when their crops did the contaminating is unfair and have taken the attitude that they won't sue if the contamination level is less than 1%. These articles through some light of whether this is true or not. The original articles I read were about farmers who did not want GM contamination.

      http://www.salon.com/2014/01/13/the_supreme_court_wont_stop_monsanto_from_suing_farmers/

      http://www.activistpost.com/2014/01/supreme-court-gives-monsanto-full.html

      http://www.rodalenews.com/research-feed/organic-vs-monsanto-organic-farmers-lose-right-protect-crops

      http://www.activistpost.com/2013/08/monsanto-can-sue-farmers-when-gmo.html

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    4. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Kerr

      Let me help you out here John, Monsanto has never sued a farmer for accidental presence, what you read on activist sites is bullshit. If you have evidence showing otherwise feel free to present it.

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    5. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      "Monsanto has never sued a farmer for accidental presence, what you read on activist sites is bullshit. If you have evidence showing otherwise feel free to present it."

      Hmmm, if you can't win an argument by unsubstantiated nonsense, I guess you can always resort to profanities.

      In its report, called Seed Giants vs US Farmers, the CFS said it had tracked numerous law suits that Monsanto had brought against farmers and found some 142 patent infringement suits against 410 farmers and 56 small businesses in more than 27 states. As of December 2012, Monsanto has won more than $23m from its victims.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/12/monsanto-sues-farmers-seed-patents

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    6. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Quite easy to use profanities and win an argument it seems. Still waiting for evidence of Monsanto suing a single farmer for accidental presence. Unsubstantiated nonsense indeed.

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    7. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Well, you did not follow the case. Schmeisser did not steal the technology that was the finding of the court. It's very well documented Greg, and the Schmeisser case is one of the reasons that Monsanto gave up taking on farmers – they farm that out to their neighbours.

      I wonder how much Baxter got from the bio techs to defend the case?

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    8. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      Really?

      Judge "I find that in 1998 Mr. Schmeiser planted canola seed saved from his 1997 crop in his field number 2 which he knew or ought to have known was Roundup tolerant, and that seed was the primary source for seeding and for the defendants’ crops in all nine fields of canola in 1998."

      "The trial judge found that “none of the suggested sources [proposed by Schmeiser] could reasonably explain the concentration or extent of Roundup Ready canola of a commercial quality” ultimately present in…

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    9. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Schmeisser appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in which, on May 21,2004 issued a decision. The court upheld the two previous decisions but found that Schemisser had to pay neither damages nor Monsanto's legal costs.

      'The substantive finding was dramatic because it confirmed that farmers were responsible for transgenic contamination of their fields' commented Mary Monique Robin in 'The World According to Monsanto.' and if you know anything about the ways in which Monsanto operates, you will understand there was considerable manipulation.

      If you do decide to read the book you'll find the case well summarised on pages 213-216

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    10. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      Reread your post and contemplate if Schmeiser was found to have stolen the technology or not. It was found that Schmeiser sprayed the perimeter of one of his fields with roundup to select GM plants which were resistant to the chemical, he then harvested the seed, kept it seperate from non GM seed than planted it. Your hero is a thief.

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    11. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      His fields, his plants, his seed, and he is a 'thief'?

      I would really like to have that explained in detail!

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    12. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      So you acquire a popular current music/movies DVD, copy-IT-right on your system, onto your blank DVDs and sell them at the local market. Any problems?

      Issue here is patents and copyrights. Sure I would suggest that the current system favors the holders of intellectual property more than it should. Funny how developing countries do not like to pay for it, yet when they have it, charge the Earth - yes Apple and MS for Australian customers.

      Dicken's did not get too much for sales in the USA, now the USA complains about others ripping them off.

      I would suggest that such privileges should be cut back somewhat in the interest of more vigorous innovation and the benefit of local populations as with critical drugs etc.

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    13. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to John Holmes

      Monsanto sold their seed, it was a one use product. The plant it grew into belonged to the farmer, not Monsanto's. The seed the crop produced belonged to the farmer, which was sold in an attempt to make a profit, for the farmer.

      Had the farmer left it in the sack, or a rat eaten it, that was the end of the seed. Had the farmer planted it, and been hit with a drought that wiped the crop out, that was the end of the seed.

      How does Monsanto claim the the seed, which in every alternate case belongs to the farmer, suddenly belongs to them, when replanted?

      If they do not want the seed of the plants grown from their seed, used as seed stock, design a block so that the seed is infertile.

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    14. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Not my hero. and not a thief. Just a Canadian farmer who was fucked over by Monsanto. read the story please Chris. I have no idea where you sre getting this strange information from

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    15. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      I knew days ago that you would get to the shill accusation John, it's the last resort for those without a cohesive argument and it is where most anti-GMers end up.

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    16. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      From the source John, you know, court documents, not activist sites.

      In 2001 First decision
      http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/38991/index.do

      In 2002 when he lost his appeal
      http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/fca-caf/decisions/en/item/31360/index.do

      and in 2004 again losing his appeal

      http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2147/index.do?r=AAAAAQAJc2NobWVpc2VyAAAAAAE

      Read the story? Pffft, read the facts!

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    17. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      So much easier to say than demonstrate isn't it Shirley.

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    18. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      You know what the two previous decisions were don't you John? And you know what upheld means? Good, now put those two bits of information together. Ypu know what that adds up to? So your reference is "The World according to Monsanto", really, and you are/were a journalist? See the three court decisions I have provided and for your own sake refrain from activist propaganda, it really is not good for you.

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    19. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Read the court decisions that i have provided John. Plenty of detail there for you.

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    20. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      I suspect that you are encountering the area of patents and plant breeder rights etc. Issues are legal definitions. Do you own the copyright of a pirated DVD in your possession.

      Now should you have the rights to sell copies, that is another question.

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    21. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris one more question before I decline to argue with you, as my experience tells me to argue with such as you and climate change deniers is pointless.

      If genetic modification is such a fine way forward for humanity, why have the biotechs, particularly Monsanto, been involved in such subterfuge, duplicity and downright lying to promote it?

      And when you look into the history of the company, GM is not the first dangerous technology that Monsanto have been involved with: they inherited DDT, they flogged PCBs, Dioxin, thenAgent Orange. Hardly the model of a good corporate citizen.

      So why should we now believe them – even if we hadn't as I have, read the science – on the question of GMOs?

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    22. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      Had no time to revisit your claims about Schmeiser and acknowledge your error John? You seemed so certain. Why is that?

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    23. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      And your response to my previous query re deception and subterfuge. How about this latest?

      Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont if Legislators Pass a Bill Requiring GMO Food to Be Labeled

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    24. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      You made claims without presenting any evidence so your claims are dismissed without any.

      You don't have to believe them John, you just have to look at the hundreds of independent studies that come to the same conclusion.

      Good to see you facing up to your error like a man and admiting that you were spreading false information. I tust you will never do that again. Ever considered why you believed what you did? Did somone lie to you? Why?

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    25. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      This latest? Must you persist in using bollucks for ammunition? The Grocery Manufacturers Association are threating legal action, not specifically Monsanto. Monsanto is a member but your claim is wrong and highly misleading. You have either intentionally tried mislead readers or you again have failed to check information and just parrot rubbish you have heard elsewhere. The reader can decide which of those is more likely. Both are abysmal failures in a forum such as this. You are only fooling yourself John.

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    26. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Literally hours after Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt), signed a mandatory GMO labeling law into effect in Vermont, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), headed by Monsanto & Dupont, announced that they plan to sue Vermont to prevent the bill from being implemented.

      Why is this wrong and highly misleading?

      And Chris, I'd recommend you began to moderate your ad hominen insult.

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    27. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      What is false and misleading is you stated Monsanto is suing Vermont, this is innacurate, false and misleading, The GMA is suing. Also plese learn what an ad hom is.

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    28. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Tyou are, aus usual, half right. Monsato is suing behid the shield of the GMA. and Ad hominen:

      Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone's case without actually having to engage with it.

      Guilt as charged milud

      I could add arrogance to ad hominen but won't

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    29. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to John Newton

      That's great. Because the truth matters to you, I trust you will now correct every anti-GMer you see who claims that Schmeiser is an innocent victim who was wrongly sued by Monsanto and that he won the case.

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  12. John Morganlowe

    Retired Farmer

    For all those who believe that GM products are perfectly safe may I suggest that they open the link below re Danish pigs, hopefully this will encourage you to investigate the GM industry and its practices.

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  13. Pieter van der Gaag

    Exercise Physiologist

    Common sense? It would be common sense to adopt harvesting methods that don't lead to contamination, wouldn't it? Can't really say any more, it's so damned obvious. Except to say that it's no coincidence that "common sense" and conventional methods handily matches the interests of agribusiness.

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  14. Mitchell Hume

    Admin

    "Zero tolerance to GM material (or other materials) is impossible to achieve"

    How is that the Organic farmers fault?

    The recommendation that the NASAA now has to amend their standards because the GM farmer cant control his product is buck passing.

    We cant get labeling laws to identify GM ingredients in Australia because of this same argument "its impossible to contain/track".

    So much for the informed consumer being the guiding principle of free markets.

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    1. Robert Hewitt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mitchell Hume

      We can't get labeling laws on GM foods in Australia because certain groups want a zero tolerance level, whilst industry and others want labeling required when inclusion is above 1 %.

      The problem with zero tolerance is that it will actually be less informative, all processed goods will simply add GMOs to the list of "may contain traces of..." because any unintentional carryover could result in them being held accountable. A 1 % inclusion rate is suggestive of deliberate inclusion.

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  15. Bill Davis

    Swinburne University, eCommerce/ICT Tutor at Swinburne University

    I find the obvious bias of the author as someone whose money making ability is based upon GM crops to be quite obvious as the top of the article showed him tied to Nemgenix, and the GM crop in question was stated as Canola.

    But how is this a basis for common sense.

    Common sense would have us label all food for source of origin, list all ingredients, including GM, and let consumers decide.

    While Monsanto business plan is to spend millions and millions of of its profits stopping citizens around the world from having the right to know what is in their food to be a major flaw in the bias arguments used by someone who has an obvious vested interest.

    This discussion cannot really exist if the discussion of labeling food properly is not seen as a fundamental right, since we see the evidence time after time that major corporations power over government regulators is shown to promote misinformation, and often outright disinformation.

    Label it, or stop it from being legal.

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    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Bill Davis

      The problem with that suggestion is that GM is not an ingredient.

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  16. Jeremy Tager

    Extispicist

    When GM canola was introduced, the industry, the regulators and even scientists promised that a 5 meter buffer zone was sufficient to protect non -gm crops from contamination. In part because of that lie, governments everywhere refused to address the question of liability - who is responsible for contamination? Legitimately, it should be the biotech companies because they knew when GM was commercialised that there was no way it could be contained. Now we have another nail in the rights of farmers to choose to be gm free. A victory for corporate ownership and control.

    And really, the ongoing industry propaganda that you repeat that gm is good science versus ignorant community is unbearably arrogant and indefensible.

    Opposition to gm is based on a number of reasons including - legitimately - deep distrust of corporate science and regulatory approvals based on that science. It is also based on what is now a significant body of work questioning the so-called safety of gm.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      How about a conventional farmer who uses superphosphate in calm sunny weather but a sudden thunderstorm causes some of the super to be washed onto the organic neighbour's place. Will NASAA then cancel the organic farmer's certification?

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    2. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      Show that it is/was a lie. Where is the "contamination"?

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    3. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      "When GM canola was introduced, the industry, the regulators and even scientists promised that a 5 meter buffer zone was sufficient to protect non -gm crops from contamination. In part because of that lie, governments everywhere refused to address the question of liability - who is responsible for contamination? "

      So you were in the meetings. part of the discussions and involved in the decision making process then? I understand that some of those meetings were fairly robust and wide ranging.

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    4. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to John Holmes

      Yes, I was involved but I wasn't part of the meetings. Greenies weren't invited. The 5 metre buffer was decided by the OGTR, presumably in consultation with Bayer and Monsanto. It was and remains a voluntary standard. Tough regulators. I hadn't heard that the meetings regarding a buffer zone were robust or far ranging.

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  17. David Maddern

    logged in via Facebook

    It surely is a victory for Monsanto who perpetrated Scientific Barstardry in that they designed a system where GM Canola had the GM modification in the wind blown pollen of a wind pollinator.
    It appears they aimed to stir up the field to advance the 'normalisation' of their GM craft, as indeed has happened with this case.
    IMHO they should be barred for this kind of research.

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  18. Steven Fuller

    Asset Management

    As has happened in the US, the government regulators (or FDA etc) have approved the use of GM seed/crops. The unfortunate issue of law is that the safety or contamination aspect of the GM crops use are not under consideration. By having received the approval, the courts are obliged not to consider cases on the basis of contamination once approved as the agencies have deemed its use safe.

    Whether or not the stakeholders, legislators and advisors in this industry can be trusted to disclose pertinent information in terms of safety regarding the consumption and biodiversity (or contamination) is another matter. We all know that the majority of scientists, advisors and politicians in this field (as does the author) have finaincial interests in the industry, some to the point of being outright shareholders. I would be highly dubios as to whether these value laden bodies can be trusted to be transparent in their dealings.

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    1. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Steven, I reiterate that at common law, all that is needed to be proven ( on balance of probability) is that damage has been done (economic or other) as a consequence of a breach of duty of care. In such cases, that duty may be onerous. However, we need much better cases than this one to provide the sort of precedents needed to better define legal rights.
      The case cited above regarding the purple corn would have been a perfect example. Safety need not be an issue, merely some quantifiable damage or loss and reasonably foreseeable risk.

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    2. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Tony Dickson

      There is precedence against the unprotected organic farmers. Specifically in the Percy Schmiester case against Monsanto, and others, the cases were dismissed under the grounds that the courts were unable to consider that the GM Crops contaminated other crops. This 'could not have occurred' as the FDA had approved them and contained within this approval was the (scientific) claim that they could not cause contamination to other crops. This effectively nullified any claim, on the balance of any probability…

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    3. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      I am not disagreeing with you and it is certainly true that the common law can be overidden by legislation and international treaties etc.
      However, the scientific evidence is only one scource of evidence that a court will take cognisance of. A crop of blue corn in a neighbors field may well trump all the reasurrances of expert opinion. If the contamination in the case you cite could not be demonstrated by genetic anaysis, the court would not have much room to move. I am not familiar with the details of the case.
      I am merely asserting that the jury is still out, metaphorically speaking. I also think it is counterproductive to test the law with half arsed cases like this one. It does much more harm than good.

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    4. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Upon reflection, I wonder whether the issue for the court in Schmiester was that given the approval of the FDA, any actual risk could not have been reasonably forseen and therefore there was no breach of duty of care. Such a defense would be expected to have a short use by date.
      When I get a chance I will check it out.

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    5. Robert Hewitt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tony Dickson

      The case of Percy Schmeiser is so often misrepresented. He sprayed out a canola crop with glyphosate that he suspected had RR canola in it, he selected the seed that survived the spraying, cleaned it and then replanted it the following year across 1,000 acres. It was done knowingly and was a perfect example of patent infringement. There was a reason he was originally found to have infringed the patent and lost subsequent appeals.

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    6. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Tony Dickson

      You are correct and I think we actually agree on this. The case above against a neighbour, using a GM crop by the correct methods and in good faith should not have been found guilty of negligence or breaching a duty of care. This is easily lost in the personally charged opinions of whether GM crops are safe or should be used and if consumers should be afforded more protection from potential future harm. I can see I was guilty of this earlier and further reading today has changes my views somewhat…

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    7. Robert Hewitt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Terminator genes or GURTs have never been commercialised and in fact there is a worldwide moratorium on them.

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    8. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Robert Hewitt

      Yes, for now. Hopefully it stays that way, although my trust level may be a little less than some.

      There have been some votes to overturn the UN Convention in some South American countries, luckily all voted down so far. Also, there has ben potential contamination from the unauthorised field trials by Monsanto have already subjected nature to.

      I believe it was Brazil that last voted to continue the ban on its use under fears that it could be weaponised. We need and anti-Terminator gene!

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    9. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      No we don't all know that, but conspiracy theorists do.

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    10. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Schmeiser was compensated for his clean up costs and then found guilty of intentionally stealing the technology and seeding his property with it.

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    11. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      BTW these actions in Sth America are not about GM crops but about GM pharmaceuticals but this does not stop the anti-GM propaganda machine from fooling people in the hope that they would spread misinformation. They counted on their fold to not fact check and you obliged.

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  19. Keith Woolsey

    retired

    This decision appears to be a victory for corporate greed and Monsanto in particular.
    I will not claim to be an expert on GM crops, but it appears to me that we are moving to the situation where a few multinationals will control the bulk of the worlds food supply. We have seen just recently how successful the "big boys" can be, thinking GFC.
    They are obviously looking for a return on their research investment.
    Perhaps governments should should put more funds into research ....... oh wait

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    1. Robert Hewitt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Keith Woolsey

      If you think that the proliferation of GM crops is going to lead to a few multinationals controlling the bulk of the world's food supply, then I hate to tell you that that ship sailed long ago.

      Large corporations such as Cargill, ADM, JBS, Bayer, Monsanto, DuPont have all got considerable interests in world Agriculture. One of the reasons why they have a such a position is the fact that bringing a product to market costs hundreds of millions of dollars and a reasonably long time period.

      Governments, Quangos, Universities are the ones doing the majority of research into GM crops, they then sensibly sell the IP to the likes of Monsanto because groups like Monsanto are good at marketing, have multiplication and distribution chains and Universities, Govts and Quangos are generally pretty poor at this.

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    2. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Robert Hewitt

      Correct. A simple look at Monsanto's books shows that they spend more on patent protection than they actually recover from those infringing. This is small money to Monsanto, but can ruin some farmers and is purely a campaign to enforce acquiescence. it is also notable that they spend more on patent enforcement than they do on R&D.

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  20. Sandor von Kontz

    farmer

    If I light a fire in the conventional way and hope it will go out over night as it is cold and humid, and a wind does come up and fans the fire and burns the nighbour's house down and I get off scott free this is a victory for common sense to you?

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    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Except of course that there was no "fire," no "contamination". A better analogy would be that cinders landed on the roof but did not burn anything. Another analogy would be that a drum of glyphosate fell off a truck and landed in the organic farmers property without spilling its contents. Should the organic farmer lose his certification over that?

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  21. Don Matthews

    Retired

    Could someone tell us pore lost soles what tests are done on " Organic " or natural foods that are not done on GM crops ??
    Grain farmers change the variety they grow regularly , is each new entry tested for safe ?

    Wat is " SAFE " ???

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  22. trevor prowse

    retired farmer

    Firstly, some peoples comments are suggesting that farmers are being forced to use GM crops. Farmers do not have to plant any thing they do not want. Many farmers feel the need to plant an occasional GM crop to solve a weed that has become resistant to in- crop chemicals. Regarding the method of harvesting, cutting the crop( swathing) and putting it into windrows , is a method to stop a proportion of the crop from shedding. When a paddock of canola is grown, because of the variation of soil types…

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  23. Luke Weston

    Physicist / electronic engineer

    A victory for common sense indeed.

    The entire "organic" industry is pseudoscience, selling expensive, relatively low-yield agricultural products at high markups to relatively rich Western consumers. These products have no nutritional, taste, health or any other benefits over conventional agricultural products, and these expensive products are only marketed to the public through pseudoscience, through a campaign to demonise "the other" conventional agricultural products as supposedly being unhealthy…

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Your post illustrates the extremely demnding "standards" of NASAA, but when produce is labelled organic , which organic certifying organisation has given the tick and when - or has the produce ever been given a tick by the "certifying authority"? How's a buyer to know?

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  24. Shirley Birney

    logged in via email @tpg.com.au

    Indeed the duplicitous Monsanto will be rubbing its hands in glee over the Marsh case where regulators permitted Monsanto’s Roundup canola seed to be grown 5 metres from Marsh’s boundary.

    The author states that we can grow this food harmoniously alongside one another – a statement merely to obfuscate unassailable facts.

    In March, a survey across 17 US states found that a third of U.S. organic farmers had experienced problems in their fields due to the nearby use of genetically modified crops…

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  25. Michael Grant

    Manager

    Reply to Martin Quirke and his citing of the (English) tort case of Rylands v Fletcher and the strict liability of owners of land from whence something escapes. Rylands v Fletcher is no longer part of the common law of Australia - as decided by the High Court of Australia at least a decade ago. Now such matters are decided on the basis of negligence, not on the basis of absolute liability for things escaping from land. So take that House of Lords! And take that Privy Council!!

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    1. Tony Dickson

      Farmer at Farm Forestry and ecological services

      In reply to Michael Grant

      You are partly correct. As I observed in a post above, RvF has been absorbed back into the law of Negligence, but the standard of care for the sorts of situations formally embraced by RvF is extremely high, indeed not a long way short of strict liability.
      Given the controversial nature of GM and the well publicised potential for contamination, the ghost of RvF has yet to be exorcised from the spectre of legal liability.

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  26. Chris Kelly

    Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

    If I was growing and selling a product that required certification and the certifying organisation removed my certification due to a "contamination" that in no way affected my end product or my ability to produce more of it, I would be suing them not walking hand in had with them against a third party who did not, by the certifying organisations own standard contaminate anything.

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  27. Gregory Thomas Hargreaves

    farmer/vet

    Excellent article, especially the bit about how anti GM being political and ideological rather than scientific

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  28. Bob Phelps

    Director at Gene Ethics

    Governments foresaw the Marsh vs Baxter case but did not protect organic or non-GM growers. A DAFF paper, Liability Issues Associated with GM Crops in Australia, concluded in September 2003 that: "When drafting the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cth), the legislature considered liability issues associated with GMOs and chose not to implement a specific liability regime for damage caused by GMOs. ... where the activities of one farmer affect a neighbour, recourse is to existing statute and common law…

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    1. Bob Phelps

      Director at Gene Ethics

      In reply to Bob Phelps

      I'd like Mike Jones to respond to my comment please. Does he support Farmer Protection Laws? If not, why not.

      Tomorrow, Mark Parnell MLC will introduce a private members Bill into the SA Parliament to compensate land-holders from GM contamination. The GM industry should pay for the pollution it causes.

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    2. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Bob Phelps

      There are certain MLCs who would introduce bills against vaccination and against chemtrails if given half the chance, doesn't mean there's anything credible there.

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    3. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Luke that wasn't the question - and although it wasn't directed to you, it's worth answering - would you support laws that impose liability on biotech companies if their gm seeds/plants/pollen contaminate property that is non-gm and wants to be non-gm

      And just for the record, credibility of legislation doesn't go to who introduces it - it's whether the legislation on its face is credible.

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    4. Bob Phelps

      Director at Gene Ethics

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Parnell's Bill is an excellent piece of legislation but was voted down when previously introduced. But it is even more crucial that it be passed now, as a result of the Marsh vs Baxter judgement which means the common law offers GM contaminated landholders no protection. SA Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell should accept laws to compensate affected landholders.
      Despite South Australia's general ban on commercial GM crops many exemptions have been granted http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/gmc/legislation/register_of_exemption_notices that compromise the state's GM-free status. These include Bayer's GM canola seed bulking for export that is not under OGTR supervision because the regulator says it is commercial, having been approved by DIRs 021 and 104.

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    5. Christopher Preston

      Associate Professor, Weed Management at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Bob Phelps

      Bob, this is undoubtably politics being played. It is not legal in South Australia for commercial crops of any GM cultivars to be sown, so there is no danger to land-holders in South Australia from what their neighbours are up to - even if 8 canola plants could be called a danger.

      South Australian regulations insist that all trials sown under exemptions to its act are done in a way that minimises any potential movement of material off-site.

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    6. Bob Phelps

      Director at Gene Ethics

      In reply to Christopher Preston

      Bayer's seed bulking for export are not trials according to the OGTR! Are you saying that the OGTR has lied to us? You are welcome to ask them yourself and you will get the same answer.

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    7. Christopher Preston

      Associate Professor, Weed Management at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Bob Phelps

      Bayer's activities in South Australia are regulated under the South Australian Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004. Section 6 is the appropriate part of the act.

      They don't concern the OGTR other than they are events that have already been approved by the OGTR as safe for commercial release.

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    8. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Christopher Preston

      Bayer's activities "as safe for commercial release?"

      2012 - Bayer - officially No. 1 polluter in the entire USA and third largest polluter in 2013 - trumped only by DuPont.

      GM sycophant Australia has lost its bragging rights.

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    9. Christopher Preston

      Associate Professor, Weed Management at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley Birney, that has absolutely nothing to do with the OGTR identifying some canola traits developed by Bayer as being safe for human health and the environment.

      It is an exercise in whataboutery.

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    10. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Christopher Preston

      It's okay then that Bayer CropScience, Syngenta and BASF are suing the European Commission and that DuPont, Syngenta and Dow are suing Hawaii's island county of Kaua’i?
      http://www.panna.org/blog/kauai-triumphs-over-pesticide-gmo-corporations-again

      And let's trivialise Bayer CropScience's whopping EPA violations.

      December 2012, we lost a farmer to Syngenta's lethal paraquat - for which there is no antidote. Paraquat is the favourite suicide drink for depressed and illiterate peasant farmers, hence a gruesome death but Syngenta marches on making a killing - literally.
      So why not put Bernie Madoff in charge of the Reserve Bank? After all, it's a matter of values Christopher.

      Stop stomping on the people of Australia.

      http://www.panna.org/blog/kauai-triumphs-over-pesticide-gmo-corporations-again

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  29. Peter Hindrup

    consultant

    I guess it is ‘a victory for common sense’ if it is not your farm/livelihood that is affected!

    However this issue has been addressed long ago, as Martin Quirke and his citing of the (English) tort case of Rylands v Fletcher and the strict liability of owners suggests, in dealing with animals the responsibility for controlling the actions of animals rests with the owner/s.

    You keep your scrawny mongrel bull/stallion/ram or whatever home, or pay the damages, which could be massive.

    Similarly…

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  30. Phillip Chalmers

    Doctor at Private and Hospital medicine

    Moderators, please explain whether you think the disclosure of the author was sufficiently informative to let us know his was a biased point of view of a topic in which he has a vital financial interest.

    I think it is a bit rich that we have to Google parts of the ID to discover the connection.

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  31. Scott Kinnear

    Director

    Please note the judgment is under active review by Steve Marsh and his legal team. It is too early to say that the judgment will stand.

    It is not uncommon for judgments to be overturned at appeal. Keep in mind that in Australia the first level of appeal is to the full bench of the Supreme Court in WA and the second level is to the High Court if leave is granted.

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    1. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Scott Kinnear

      Hi Scott, months ago on radio you said you would get back to us on who provided seed funding for your organisation. At the time you were asked, your opponents in debate who were supporting GM were also asked, they responded but you refused. We are still waiting Scott, who provided seed funding for the ridiculously named safe food foundation?

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    2. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Scott Kinnear

      Waiting on full disclosure of Safe Food Foundation seed funding................... crickets!

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  32. Shirley Birney

    logged in via email @tpg.com.au

    If there’s anything that’s important to consumers, it’s corporate and scientific integrity. Australia’s academia and biotech industry are collaborating with known international criminals – biotech/pesticide giants that are the top polluters in the US. The products of these degenerates have sickened and killed humans and wiped out ecosystems around the world.

    Consumers are repelled by uninvited corporate bandits contaminating their food chain with GMOs and with impunity. Australia’s compliant…

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    1. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, could you please inform me about your statement, " Consumers are repelled by uninvited corporate bandits contaminating their food chain with GMOs and with impunity.'.

      Could you please explain what, precisely, the 'contamination' is and how detrimental it is and to what organism it is this contamination detrimental?

      Can you please reference your response with peer reviewed science? We have all heard the and seen the synthetic science frem Seralini et al which has been thoroughly discredited. Do you have any new information on the negative side of genetic modification?

      See the questions I raised halfway up the page on this subject. Can you answer these questions?

      I would welcome reasoned, logical scientific answers, not the normal emotional non-science we hear from anti-GM advocates.

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    2. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Let's be clear - Seralini's studies have been thoroughly attacked (right out of the tobacco industry playbook). They have not been discredited except.

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    3. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Mike, I try to avoid making allegations that cannot be substantiated. Therefore your request for peer reviewed literature is imprudent since I have bucket loads and many more at your request.

      However, unlike the global majority of consumers, you appear unperturbed that notorious violators/criminals have a stranglehold on the food chain. WA has had four referenda on the trivial matter of daylight saving to a resounding 'NO" so when’s the referendum on GMOs in our food chain? I don’t recall…

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    4. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I think you got him.

      A strain of 'scientific' fanboy seems to be prevalent upon net forums that mocks as 'anti-science' any philosophical discussion of where such corporately-driven technical labyrinthes might be taking us all, and why. It is interesting to then see the strain dissolve, or at least duck for cover, in the face of the relevant science that is independent of, but largely suppressed and defamed by, those corporations.

      I deeply appreciate your effort in pursuing and documenting this terrible dichotomy of science.

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    5. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Greg, Shirley got nothing. She, like you did not address the questions. Shirley put up a lot of guff about herbicides and still did not answer the direct questions I asked. To refresh both of your memories this was the original.

      " - there are genetic manipulation techniques that can enhance food plants growth rates substantially. As an example, I wonder what the reaction would there be from the Anti-GM lobby, to sweet corn that had the codon for Indole Acetic Acid snipped out and multiple replications…

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    6. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Unfortunately the same could be said of your arguments. If you have any long term studies (not run by the biotech companies) that show genetically altered plants are not harmful please provide it. Your anecdotes are interesting, but nonetheless mostly unsupported. GM crops have not been around long enough for their long term effects (or lack of) to be fully understood. That is why Europe and a great many other countries are making their own decisions and using the precautionary principle here. Following…

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    7. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Are you deliberatly avoiding the questions I asked because you don't know the answers? In fact, I am not argueing, I am asking questions which obviously the anti-GM lobby cannot answer, possibly because they do not understand the principles of gene tecnology or maybe it is because they don't want to challenge their own lack of understanding.

      So, I'll try another simple question. Would you eat a food, fresh or otherwise, that came from a polyploidal plant? There, a nice easy one.

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    8. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Yes I would. I am almost certain I would have already eaten a product with polyploidal genetics. While I would probably not be aware of most varieties, I know that I have had seedless watermelon and some GM strawberries. I do purchase the majority of things I ingest from markets and not mass produced supermarket chains. This is mainly for the quality and taste, but if there are benefits such as less herbicide, that is all well and good, but I don't go out of my way to buy organic etc and certainly…

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    9. Christopher Preston

      Associate Professor, Weed Management at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Steve Fuller, unless you have kept away from consuming plant material all your life, you have consumed species with polyploidy genetics often. Every day, in fact. They will be in your next meal.

      As for your comments about MRL values in glyphosate changing, what is happening is that various countries are moving the MRL to the CODEX values here http://www.codexalimentarius.net/pestres/data/pesticides/details.html;jsessionid=7BA965F7D5BAA909CE2C7C2A6E3FAF97?d-16497-o=2&id=158&d-16497-s=3 There is…

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    10. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Mike Jubow, true to industry spin, you distort facts to suit your ideology.

      @ Mike Jubow’s original request: “Can you please reference your response with peer reviewed science?”

      At your request, I provided no fewer than 35 peer reviewed papers for your perusal. The papers on GM and Criminality have also been published in the European and British Journals of Criminology.

      Your motive for that request was not driven by a desire to read those PR papers, but by an arrogant presumption that I had…

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    11. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Hi Stephen, if you know that you have eaten GM strawberries you better alert the regulatory authorities as they have not been deregulated anywhere in the world. So how do you "know" this?

      Whether you purchase produce from markets or supermarkets does not have any bearing on the likelihood of you eating fruits from polyploidal plants, just as produce from organic does not mean that you are eating from lines that have not been genetically modified. Organics allow the use of varieties that were…

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    12. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Well, well, after that little rant Shirley, I hope you feel much better now. You may be having a bit of a problem with your reading and understanding of the written word. Part of my first posting read, "See the questions I raised halfway up the page on this subject. Can you answer these questions"? If you wanted to understand my stance you would have read the questions and seeing as you haven't, you seem to have made assumptions that I was advocating the use of herbicides for all at breakfast…

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    13. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      It is funny when people with absolutely no credientials in food safety assert that studies are not long enough when the scientific community says otherwise. The European Food Safety Authority supports the safety of GM crops but are ignored by politicians for geopolitical reasons not safety.

      Bt technology has massively reduced pesticide use, RR technology has increased herbicide use, they should not be thrown in the same basket. The benefits of both to farmers are clear, they work and farmers are…

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    14. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Christopher Preston

      Christopher, considering what I know through email dialogue with former US EPA senior physicist, William Sanjour, AO supplier to the military, namely Monsanto also knew about the dioxin contamination but continued the cover-up. And I won't spend time alluding to Monsanto's diabolical and wilful PCB contamination of Anniston, its hapless residents and indeed much of the planet with yet another of their bio-accumulative environmental and health hazards.

      http://home.comcast.net/~jurason/main/Default.htm

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    15. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      If I may reiterate: GMOs are a public issue involving science, not the other way around. Comprehend?

      Your brilliantly resistant and superior GM corn and soybean crops crashed in the US drought of 2012 where several corn-belt states hit a low crop yield not seen for thirty years.

      So here we have a forestry/seed consultant spinning for the GM industry and one who can’t provide or even digest a peer reviewed paper?

      Deniers and duck-shovers are commonly found among old timers suffering from amnesia Mr Jubow and alas, you’ve just been busted again.

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    16. Christopher Preston

      Associate Professor, Weed Management at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley Birney, it is fair to say that all the companies making 2,4,5-T knew that if they used the cheaper high temperature manufacturing process there would be dioxins present in the final product. The US Army knew about this as well, but continued to source and use the product.

      It has no relevance to the safety of genetically-modified canola. It is just a bit more whataboutery.

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    17. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris, this claims to be a lit review but it's limited to 12 studies - and obviously 12 that demonstrated no health impact. Do you know the criteria for the 12 studies chosen and how many of them were funded in whole or part by industry?

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  33. Michael Jones

    Professor, Agricultural Biotechnology at Murdoch University

    I have followed the online discussions with interest.

    Some points that have emerged.

    • Movement of materials, pests and diseases is a two way event – it may occur onto an organic farm from a neighbour or equally from an organic farm to a neighbour (a recent court case in France required an organic grower to spray his vines, which were infected with a devasting phytoplasma disease, caused by a wall-less bacterium which lives in the phloem, with insecticide to control leaf hoppers which transmit…

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    1. Bob Phelps

      Director at Gene Ethics

      In reply to Michael Jones

      "GM is a more precise way of producing the types of changes breeders seek, but it does also extend the improvements they seek – including additional ways of conferring tolerance to drought, salt and heat stress; pest and disease resistance, and improved quality."

      Your claims are inflated and misleading.

      How is firing DNA into plant cells using biolistics or smuggling it past cell defences using agrobacterium more precise? Genetic engineers cannot predict where the transgenes will land on the genome of the host cells.

      Please provide evidence for commercial genetically manipulated drought, salt and stress tolerant, improved quality and disease resistant broadacre crops. Around 99% are only Roundup tolerant or make Bt insect toxins.

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    2. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Michael Jones

      "What is needed are practical national standards"

      Saying we should have national standards for organic or biodynamic farming is like saying we should have national standards for homeopathy, or scientology.

      What is needed is consumer protection from the FUD, pseudoscience and woo. Without misleading advertising allowed to sell the overpriced product, the "organic" industry will pack up and go home.

      Let's look at the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, for example. Here are a few short extracts…

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    3. Don Woodcock

      Community Developer

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Luke this would be a great idea!

      This is off track but you commented,

      It would also be a great idea if these codes were used accurately for the products they are developed for. As a complementary health practitioner I see sheeple every day that are blind to the 'gods' that 'push' products under the auspices of medicine that mostly off no help to manage cause, but just hide symptoms.

      Being informed is better than being sheep.

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    4. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Michael Jones

      You are somewhat optimistic in believing that the global community will ever accept GMO crops. After some 18 years since the advent of GM crops, a mere 28 countries are growing G/engineered plants. That leaves about 168 countries which are not.

      La Via Campesina comprises about 164 local and national organizations in 73 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Altogether, it represents about 200 million peasant farmers who vigorously oppose the introduction of genetically engineered…

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    5. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      "You are somewhat optimistic in believing that the global community will ever accept GMO crops. After some 18 years since the advent of GM crops, a mere 28 countries are growing G/engineered plants. That leaves about 168 countries which are not."

      Propaganda. Regardless of the number of countries growing GM crops these countries still import food that has been grown using GM technology. There are very few countries that ban outright any GM foods.

      "Altogether, it represents about 200 million peasant…

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    6. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      A quick search of the GAO website reveals the following report in 2008 that is likely the one referred to by Shirley. Readers can consider the contents in light of the picture Shirley is trying to paint while also understanding that she also plagiarised material as demonstrated below. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-60

      Now who is guilty of propaganda?

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    7. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      I see you’re back for more punishment Chris. If I stated that the article was published by Reuters in 2013 and quoted from that article, how does that amount to bastardisation?

      @ Shirley Birney: “In May 2013, Reuters outlined a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office…………..The report's conclusions were based on USDA data that there were 712 violations of its regulations from 2003 to 2007, including 98 that could lead to a possible release of unauthorized crops.”

      1) I cited Reuters…

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    8. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      This is fun. A mendacious fraudster who initially acknowledged that I had quoted from Reuter, now produces a GAO report which I have never seen and which he claims I "plagiarised."

      And we all know what citizens down under think of GM's incoherent and mendacious fraudsters.

      May we have more of your project paloozas? Tonnes more please, just for the public record?

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    9. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      You passed the following off as your own. "The report's conclusions were based on USDA data that there were 712 violations of its regulations from 2003 to 2007, including 98 that could lead to a possible release of unauthorized crops."

      That is plagiarism. You might be able to get away with it in your usual company but you cannot here.

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    10. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Shirley did not pass that statement of as her own. Very clearly her statement is a summation of the content of the Reuter's article written about the report. You are very clearly and aggressively misrepresenting her, which you have done a few times in your interchange with her and some others.

      Quite simply you are a bully that relies heavily upon technical hubris and intimidating sophistry to prevail with your argument. You provide a usefully accessible reflection of the character of the corporate agenda you support.

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    11. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Well said and mirroes my own sentiment of Chris Kelly's posts and the agressive corporate bullying of the major biotech firms.

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    12. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Thanks for your comment Greg. The two paragraphs I higlighted are directly lifted from the Reuters article, one of them a word for word copy and paste and the other another copy and paste merely excluding a date which is convienient to her argument. I have clearly demonstrated this.

      Shirley and your inability to follow a conversation, comprehend specific language, understand logical fallacies or present evidence to back up your arguments is also typical of the unsophisticated arguments of the anti-GMer. But hey thanks for dropping in to highlight this point. Care to show Shirley's quotation signs indicating her cut and paste frenzy?

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    13. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      "Shirley did not pass that statement of as her own. Very clearly her statement is a summation of the content of the Reuter's article written about the report."

      Oh dear! Want to revist that Greg?

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    14. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris, whatever the merits of her argument, which you mostly avoid in favour of claims of plagarism, Shirley clearly states at the opening of her paragraph; "In May 2013, Reuters outlined...". That is a reasonable insight for all readers to understand Shirley is not passing the information off as her own. The fact that is WAS taken (and noted so) from another reputable source only adds strength to her argument.

      This discussion is not an academic debate requiring Harvard referencing. What she has…

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    15. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Steven's comment revisits it perfectly. Thank you Steven.

      Perhaps you need to cool off for a while Chris with some other indulgence away from the forum. Perhaps spray some biodiversity into submission or splice the genes on some blowflies so that their wings fall off. Stuff that asserts your unique authority, like you're trying to do here but are beginning to flag a tad at the task.

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    16. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Copying and pasting without attribution does not in any way add stength to her argument especially when one considers that she deliberately omitted the date of the report from her copy and paste. This is an intentional action to hide from the reader that the report is dated.

      I am well aware that the levels of debate on sites such as this do not require "harvard referencing" but to not even use quotations to demonstrated lifted text is not acceptable.

      Contrary to your assertions I provided a link to the actual GAO report of 2008 which I suggest gives the reader a direct way of assessing both Shirley's "summation" and that of the Reuter journalist. Anyone reading can now see whether the rhetoric matches the report and I encourage all to do so.

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    17. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Tell me Greg, who is the one trying to show the most accurate information contained in the report, the one who links directly to it for all to see or the one selectively cut and pasting from an an article while constructing a narrative that suits their agenda? Where do you think reader will get the most accurate information, from the actual report or from the third hand view of an activist? Cheers

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    18. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Thanks for the suggestion Greg. Perhaps you need to step away if you are finding it too hot to handle.

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    19. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Once again Chris, Shirley opens her comment with: "In May 2013, Reuters outlined...".

      Surely even you can understand that this is not "Copying and pasting without attribution" (Chris Kelly, 05/06/2014). The rest of the readers of TC seem to be able to. Whatever the merits of the content contained in that information, it is mostly avoided. You have merely linked the information Shirley already provided which in no way contradicts what she has written. All but you can see that.

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    20. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Once again it is incumbent on Shirley to indicate passages of text that are not her own. She has in no way allowed the reader to determine which are her own words and which are the words directly lifted (cut and pasted) from the Reuters article. Failure to do this would result in a fail for even a juinor high school student composing a persuave argument.

      Your assumption about the rest of the reasers is unfounded.

      Contrary to your claim, my direct link provides far more information. Firstly it shows that the report was from 2008, a fact that Shirley deliberately hid from from the reader by again cut and pasting selectively. This is significant as the report also provides information on how many issues raised in the report have since been addressed in following years.

      If you feel that her rhetoric and the context in which she used the report matches the content of the report then you are clearly blinded by bias.

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    21. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Not at all. I don't have outright support Shirley's argument but I can clearly understand where she ontained the information in the paragraph preceeded by "In May 2013, Reuters outlined...", as I would assume most readers of even mild intelligience would also. I do not know Shirley but as her post reads, and regardless of the merits of her arguments, there was no deceit intended in the presentation. If she failed to mention that she got her information from Reuters, I would agree with you on that…

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    22. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Yes we can all determine where she got the information from, that is clearly not my issue. For the upteenth time she lifted entire passages of text without indicating that the words are not hers. In doing so she also selectively ommited critical details in order to support her argument. This is clearly intellectually dishonest behaviour.

      Your research illuminated the vested interests of nearly all advisors, committees and research into it's use? You expect us to just accept that? That is…

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    23. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      I don't have a conspiracy theory and am not going to bother researching the other side for you. Clearly your mind is narrowed and focussed on one side. I found as many reputable publishings praising GM benefits as I did those showing these were exaggerated or simply not true.

      Look into the US EPA, FDA, congressmen, senators, lead scientists and advisory panels in the US to see where their allegiance MIGHT lay. To a man they have financial interests in biotech companies. I have not accused anyone…

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    24. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      "Look into the US EPA, FDA, congressmen, senators, lead scientists and advisory panels in the US to see where their allegiance MIGHT lay. To a man they have financial interests in biotech companies" Another extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence. I call bullshit!

      I am well aware of companies flogging off products that are not tested and therefore not found to be safe and effective. Typically they are found in the alternative health section of supermarkets and pharmacies and in the catalogues of organic fertiliser companies.

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    25. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Greg, thank you for your support. It is somewhat disconcerting to find that Chris Kelly (public servant = public purse) has the freedom to bleat, abuse and manipulate on this forum for eight days.

      Government agencies it appears are already compliant with the “Monsanto Protection Act”. Monsanto has increased its shareholding in WA’s “publicly” owned InterGrain to 26% while the largest polluters in the US are dirtying things up down under: http://www.ogtr.gov.au/internet/ogtr/publishing.nsf/Content/map

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    26. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      It is telling that you repeat more rubbish from the anti-GM handbook. There is no such thing as the Monsanto protection Act.

      The act that unscrupulous individuals renamed in order to scare people and hype up sentiment against Monsanto is the Farmer Assurance Provision bill. The title of it should give you a clue to who it affects, yes the farmers, not Monsanto. Here is what it states

      "In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection…

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    27. Shirley Birney

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Why don't you cease making a goose of yourself?

      I used inverted commas around the "Monsanto Protection Act" to express irony. Are you really that dense?

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    28. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris, further to the Marsh/Baxter GM case, there was a review of the judgement by Trent Thorne, a Brisbane-based agribusiness lawyer. It was published in the Queensland Country Life, 07 Jun, 2014. It can be seen at;
      http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/news/agriculture/general/opinion/gm-test-case-backfires/2700575.aspx?storypage=3

      He begins his review with, "This was a case that should never have left the starting gate, but powerful forces have been in action behind the scenes, pushing this…

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    29. Chris Kelly

      Publicly funded Ag/Hort Research Techie.

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Yes the Judge saw through the whole charade.

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    30. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Chris Kelly

      Chris, have you ever signed a "Terms of Employment" document which bound you not to work on ********** or allied products with
      the written consent of the manufacturers?

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    31. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Rotha Jago

      Sorry that should have read "Without the written consent of manufacturers.

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    32. Jeremy Tager

      Extispicist

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Really, this is just the emergence of your bias on a situation that was incredibly difficult for Marsh. On the one hand, he wanted to avoid contamination, on the other he needed to be sure that the organic certifiers were involved in the decision about how to deal with the presence of GM - a perfectly understandable dilemna. The intimation that he was somehow trying to set up the situation for litigation is not borne out either by evidence or the judgement.

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    33. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Jeremy Tager

      Jeremy, after reading the judges comments about Marshes behavior, one has to wonder at his reasoning for his actions, as I did.

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  34. Ann Brownjohn

    Founder - The Right Food Group

    Michael - we do have legislated federal government organic standards - for export.
    These export standards are used as the base standard for the 7 Federal Government appointed organic certification inspection groups.

    There are no domestic legislated organic standards - which is something my industry has long lobbied to have changed.
    In the past attempts to have organic standards fit under food standards were not successful. It seems the time is right to try again.

    As to GM - I am surprised at…

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    1. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Ann Brownjohn

      Bravo! Ann.
      I shall follow the The Right Food Group.
      What about a law to "Allow nature to persist" ?
      Equador has it written into their constitution that nature has a right
      to persist. I believe this has been considered in other countries too.

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