Australia Risks Organic Export Growth As It Struggles To Coexist With Gmo | Reuters

June 9, 2014

A women selects apples at a supermarket in Sydney, March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed A move to a European Union model, which allows up to 0.9 percent, is being mooted to prevent farmers falling short of the required Australian organic standard and against a backdrop of increased GMO sowing in Australia. However, a watering down of the regulations could limit Australia's organic exports to some key markets. blog url Andrew Monk, chairman of Australian Organic Ltd, the country's largest certifier, said he did not believe the standard needed changing and warned of the dangers of doing so. "We would be really shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of future supply into markets like Asia and Europe for what are high valued, premium products," said Monk. RISE OF THE GMO After the Supreme Court of Western Australia rejected Steve Marsh's bid for damages from his former friend Michael Baxter, after winds carried harvested seed from Baxter's Monsanto Roundup Ready canola crop on to Marsh's farm, legal experts said Australia's zero tolerance towards GMO will difficult to maintain. "If any organic food consumers or producers want to maintain a strict and rigid GM-free standard for their organic products, the judgment means it will be harder to do this," said Joe Lederman, Managing Principal, FoodLegal. "It is not impossible but there will be a huge cost in doing so." GMO crops accounted for about 15-20 percent of Australia's 3.2 million tonne canola crop in 2012/13, according to the Australian Oilseeds Federation (AOF), redirected and the proportion has been growing. Australia is the world's second-largest exporter of canola, with approximately 50 percent of its sales to the European Union, but it profits from being largely non-genetically modified, unlike market leader Canada, said Nick Goodard, Executive Director, AOF. The EU has a strong preference for non-GM canola, he added.

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