Marsh v Baxter case tested organic certification standards in Western Australia and showed they must change

| | June 2, 2014

A biotechnology scientist says organic certification bodies need to relax their rules and be “more realistic” about the presence of genetically modified material in conventional farming. Speaking after organic farmer Steve Marsh lost a damages case brought against a neighbour for contaminating Marsh’s crops with GM, Michael Jones from Murdoch University said the verdict was a “victory for common sense”.

Marsh, whose farm is 260km south of Perth, lost the right to call his farm organic when GM canola blew onto his property from Michael Baxter’s property next door. Australia’s organic regulators have zero tolerance of GM presence, but Jones, from the university’s agricultural biotechnology centre, says they must change.

“The case was really a test of the organic certification standards rather than of farming practices,” he said. “The organic certification bodies in the US have a 5% limit of GM before someone loses their organic certification, and even in the EU the limit is 0.9%.”

Safe Food Foundation director Scott Kinnear was blunt when told about Jones’s call to lift the limit: “He can go jump,” he told Guardian. “Of course he would like to see them raised because as a scientist he has a vested interest in getting funding from the biotechnology industry.”

Read the full, original article: GM contamination rules should be relaxed, says biotechnology scientist

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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