Friday, September 04, 2015

WA Organic Farmer Loses Appeal over GM Contamination From Neighbour

A decision yesterday on the appeal by WA organic grain grower against his neighbour, claiming his adjacent GM crop of GM canola destroyed his organic certification.

Quite a lot of media attention including this one -

and some from both organic and GM advocates.

The appeal in a 2 to 1 judgment supported the original decision, which the organic grower, Steve Marsh lost, in essence supporting the use of GM crops near organic crops. The judgments need careful reading in extending the outcomes to more general situations, but does essentially support the co-existence of both options in the farming community, but not necessarily without some planning to ensure the co-existence of both systems.

So far it has been a lawyers picnic - with costs on both sides now apparently exceeding [ by some margin] over $1 million Australian dollars.

My view was that it would go to the High Court, and it is seemingly looking as if it might, even though all judgments so far have gone against the organic farmer, and by some implication, the Australian  organic certifying agency, which uses an absolute zero tolerance for GM  contamination, which is different to many other countries where reality allows a very, very, tiny contamination level. essentially a non meaningful amount of GM contamination, which could be random.

A High Court challenge would be very expensive, and the organic farmer is already potentially liable for over A$0.8 million in legal expenses for the defendant- which could mean loss of the farm.

A complex story that is not yet over.

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