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New GM Taskforce for NSW Farmers

29 May 2012

AUSTRALIA - The benefits and risks of modifying the genes of plants to improve food and fibre production will be studied intensively by NSW Farmers.

The association has formed a Genetic Modification (GM) Task Force made up of farmers and experts who will examine issues such as product labelling, liability and health standards.

Chairman of the task force, Mr Peter Comensoli, said it would consider a range of issues and attempt to draft a single, unified policy for the association on this developing technology. He said GM showed great promise for increased productivity and decreased chemical use but market resistance and questions about its long-term effects had led to division in the farming community.

“We want to thoroughly examine the facts, consider the implications for farmers and take the lead in a debate that needs direction”, Mr Comensoli said.

Mr Comensoli said issues to be studied included the market risks to non-GM growers who need to segregate the production, transport and storage of their crops from GM product so that they can assure buyers who themselves want to market under a ‘GM free’ banner.

“Little is known about the rigour of assessments made before a new GM product is released for commercial production. We know that extensive research is needed to find good GM strains but the formal assessment of new strains to ensure their compliance with human and environmental health rules is a bit of a myth to many farmers and fuels much of the debate,” Mr Comensoli said. “We are going to burrow in and understand the process, consider it closely and suggest changes to regulations if needed.”

TheCropSite News Desk

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