Home' Nova National : December 2009 Contents 19
© NOVA DECEMBER 2009
West Australian myself with family roots
going back four generations into these
sandy, nitrogen-deficient soils, I think I can
dare to question without being dismissed
as someone from the other side who knows
nothing about "life out West".
Here's something else to ponder. This
year, following the first GE canola har vest
in NSW and Victoria, the two states that
rela xed their GE bans in late 2007, two
major grain buyers, Elders and CBH, have
listened to the demands of their markets
and refused to buy it. Major grain handler
Graincorp was also forced to reverse its
decision to mix GE canola in with the
conventional grain crop following an outcry
from farmers and industry.
We can't overlook the importance of
canola -- this grain accounts for half the
edible oil stock in Australia. Not only do
we find it in margarine and vegetable
oils as we might expect, but also in less
obvious foods like baby foods, bread and
We can only assume the WA
Government, in which the National Party
holds a small but very vocal and powerful
inf luence, is simply unaware of a few other
salient facts. And this despite WA's status
as the largest source of non-GE canola
in Australia and thus vitally important to
preser ve the nation's clean, green status at
home and in our international markets.
Market Support for Non-GE
Let's look locally first and then at the
broader global picture and its implications
for human health, the environment and,
ultimately, nothing less than control of the
world's food supply.
Greenpeace tells us that most of the
major end-users of GE-canola have now
adopted non-GE policies for their own
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brand products. They include Goodman
Fielder (Meadow Lea and White Wings),
Unilever (Flora), Peerless (Tablela nds),
Coles, IGA and Foodland. A notable
exception is the other half of Australia's
supermarket duopoly, Woolworths.
Leading chefs throughout Australia
have thrown their passion for healthy
eating behind the GE-free campaign by
signing Greenpeace's Chefs' Charter for
non-GE food. The group now numbers
180 of our most prominent food identities
including Margaret Fulton, Neil Perry,
Stephanie Alexander, Matt Moran, Maggie
Beer, Ian Parmenter, Holly Davis and
N OVA' s food writer, wholefood cook Jude
Blereau. Nutritionist and cookbook writer
Dr Rosemary Stanton who has taken a
leading role against GE-foods entering the
Australian foodchain, is unequivocal in
her position: "If we are to get GE canola, it
should be labelled. And if it is not labelled
we should all ask why."
Quite apart from the unknown risks
to human health, as the decision by Elders
and CBH to boycott the GE canola crop
from NSW and Victoria makes blatantly
clear, GE crops just don't make commercial
sense. Japa n, still a n enormously important
market for our fresh produce and which
takes 450,000 tonnes of Australia canola
each year has voiced great concern at the
move towards GE canola -- and has already
taken protective action.
Speaking at the WA launch of the True
Food Guide, prominent food producer
George Kailis whose company, Kailis
Organic Olives, is the largest integrated
olive oil producer in the world, was scathing
in his dismissal of the WA decision.
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