November 7, 2003 -- CropChoice news -- Australian Associated Press,
11/06/03: TRIALS of the nation's first commercial
genetically modified food crop have been found to be
in breach of their licence conditions.
The Network of Concerned Farmers today released internal
NSW Agriculture documents showing concerns over the
trials of GM canola near the city of Wagga Wagga.
The documents show the canola, created by BayerCropscience
to be resistant to a new type of herbicide, had spread
from its small trial plot into a neighbouring wheat
Despite efforts to poison and then slash the plants
they survived to the stage that they flowered, putting
them in breach of their growing licence conditions.
NSW, along with most other states, has a moratorium
on GM food crops but is allowing trials such as that
staged at Wagga.
But both Bayer and Monsanto, which is waiting on final
federal approval for its own GM canola, have sought
to plant up to 5000 hectares of the new plants in NSW
as trials next year.
Network national spokeswoman Julie Newman said the
failure of the Wagga trial cast doubt over the plans
for a 5000 hectare trial.
"If the GM industry can't even control a small
strictly managed trial plot under one hectare, how do
they expect to control 5000 hectares of GM canola spread
over 60 to 100 sites throughout NSW?" she said.
"The obvious difficulty that BayerCropscience
have had in managing this trial does not inspire confidence
within the farming community."
Mrs Newman said the Wagga trial showed how difficult
it would be stop contamination of traditional crops
by GM crops.
"The difficulty in managing the trials shows just
how hard it is to remove canola from wheat, and shows
how much work neighbouring farmers will have to do to
try to make sure their crops don't get contaminated,"