Maintain GM ban, Columban centre argues

Citing concern that states are set to lift a series of moratoriums on the planting of genetically modified food crops, a Sydney-based Columban justice centre has called on Australians to lobby their state parliaments to extend the bans.

The states moratoriums GM Food Crops are now up for review, according to a Columban Centre for Peace, Ecology and Justice statement.

The group warns that South Australia, Victoria and NSW are now taking submissions on whether to lift or extend the bans on the growing of genetically modified food crops in their states. Other states will follow.

The states moratoria were implemented in 2004, the centre says, as holding mechanisms until testing could be done to assess cost and yields, segregation, liabilities and marketability of GM food crops in each state, therefore in the whole of Australia.

However, according to the Columban centre, the "pro-GM crop lobby" has been so strong in Australia that the states are set to approve the lifting of the moratoria.

"This will give the green light for GM crops to go ahead and, like the cane toad, once released into our food system will be unable to be reversed," the centre says.

"That something so basic to all Australians as the right to decide what food they eat can be changed without their full informed knowledge is of deep concern. This is an issue about respect for life and God's creation."

The issues listed by the centre include the lack of independent testing and the effects of GM food crops on biodiversity.

"The long term health effects of GM food are untested - independent testing is minimal and the fact that the research bodies such are the CSIRO have to use private funding further compromises independent testing," the centre says.

"Possible connections with breakdowns in immunity and increase in allergies are needed."

"The interests of a few with much power who are seeking greater profits are being put ahead of the common good of all Australians and our environment," the centre says.

Say No to GM Food (Columban Centre for Peace, Ecology and Justice Media Release, 6/8/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Columbans Australia
Department of Primary Industry NSW GM Crops
Department of Primary Industry Victoria
Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia

Columban calls for Catholic stand on GM food (CathNews, 21/2/07)

7 Aug 2007