Regulation (Food) Articles

GM food no longer scary to the Greens

In an astonishing piece of kite flying, the Greens leader Richard Di Natale has said he “did not believe eating foods produced from genetically modified crops posed a risk to human health”, a view he has since made known to several media outlets. A virtual ban on GM foods is among the multitude of burdens the meddlesome political class has imposed on its bete noir, commercial farming. Genetic modifications of plant structure allow a short-circuiting, often of many decades, of the genetic changes that have been traditionally engineered by breeding. Almost without exception all cultivated plant and animal food we consume has been improved for our purposes from its natural state.

Making a Meal Over GM Ban

Australian Financial Review 30th March, 2004

It turns out that aside from chomping on kebabs in his recent visit to the Middle East, Victorian Premier Steve Bracks was also undertaking market research. He discovered, according to a press release on Thursday, that many parts of the Middle East have reservations about GM foods. He offered this as a major reason for banning the production of GM canola in Victoria. Canola is the most important oilseed grown in Australia and is the basis for a range of products including margarine and cooking oil.

On GM Food

Sydney Morning Herald 26th July, 2000

Your article "It's safety first, but there's not guarantees" (Herald, July 24) gives the misleading impression that scientists are divided over the issue of GM food and its safety and efficacy. In fact, the overwhelming majority of scientists favour the technology. Some 3,000 have signed a petition that says the techniques contribute substantially to enhancing quality of life by improving agriculture, health care and the environment, and that the responsible genetic modification of plants is neither new nor dangerous.

GM Labelling: Impossible and Unnecessary

Australian Financial Review 18th July, 2000

Unless we throw a crowbar into its wheels, GM technology will reduce costs to farmers and eventually consumers. The technology allows plant output to increase while reducing use of herbicide, water and nutrients. As the technology develops we will see healthier food (and vitamin A enriched rice is about to become available with immense benefits in reducing infant blindness) and food with more appealing tastes.

Give GM Foods A Go

Australian Financial Review 18th January, 2000

The green/consumerist radicals had great sport last year in demonising genetically modified foods. They catapulted GM foods into one of the celebrated causes at the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle. And prior to Seattle they managed to create public alarm with none-too-subtle images of "Frankenfoods" and claims that genetically modified tomatoes were really pigs in disguise. There was no substance behind the fear-mongering, as scientific advisers told their political masters. Even so, politicians in Australia and many other countries were spooked into contemplating draconian regulatory measures to control GM products.

Don't hobble our smart food

Herald Sun 4th August, 1999

Over the weekend, tv news showed footage of British consumer activists, clad in white, raiding a farm, bobbies in pursuit, to destroy a genetically modified crop. That particular stunt backfired: the people-in-white destroyed the wrong crop. Genetically modified food is taking over from the 'green revolution' based on hybrid plant varieties, that got underway in the 1960s. Genetic modification modifies plants' DNA so that they need less water, less fertiliser or less pesticide. Like the technology of the 'green revolution', genetic modification has a vast potential. The reduced costs it brings mean that it will be incorporated in virtually all major crops---already it dominates the North American soy and maize plantings.

Fine-tuning GM labels

Australian Financial Review 19th October, 1999

On Friday, Health Ministers will meet to determine the labelling requirements for Genetically Modified (GM) Food. Their decisions will have a profound effect on Australian food development and agriculture generally. There is a tapestry of changes that can be introduced into existing stock to allow them to use less water, more readily take up fertilizer, secrete their own 'natural' pesticides and so on. We are told that GM foods may: * create hazards to human health; * harm the environment; * cross breed with other plant stock or cause organic foods to reduce their relative tolerance to pests. Nobody contends the need to be address these issues with GM, as with traditional introductions of new genes into existing plant varieties. But, the scientific community, overwhelmingly supports the new technology, seeing its outcome as identical to the traditional practices.

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