SA says no to GM until 2019

Thursday, 20 December 2012

THE South Australian government has taken a tough stance on genetically modified crops by banning farmers from growing them for the next seven years.

State Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said while SA had always been against growing GM crops, the federal government recently reviewed its Gene Technology Act and asked states with GM moratoria that had not been reviewed in the last three years to commit to reviewing them by the end of 2014.

She said a review would not take place because allowing GM crops to be grown would have a negative impact on the marketing of the state’s food and wine in key export destinations around the world.

SA‘s initial four-year prohibition was extended in 2008 over concerns non-GM production could be altered, with the ban in place until September 1, 2019.

Gago said the GM ban would not be lifted unless there were compelling reasons to do so.

“I have written to the federal government and told them that we will not be doing this [review],” she said.

“South Australia’s clean green food bowl gives us a competitive edge in the market.

“Our non-GM crops attract greater market prices and the exceptional quality of SA’s food bowl is synonymous with the state.

“We will not be doing anything to jeopardise this.”

Gago said community and market consultation would be listened to carefully to guide the future of GM in the state.

“There also continues to be concerns within the community about the long-term impacts of genetically modified foods and we are listening to these concerns,” she said.

“South Australia remains firmly committed to maintaining its GM bans.”