Genetically Modified Misconceptions are holding back

    20 October 2011

    Misconceptions about the safety of GM crops are holding back South Australian farmers and undermining the great research being done by researchers in that state.

    CropLife Australia Chief Executive Officer Matthew Cossey today said “It is time to stop promulgating misconceptions about the safety of GM crops to the environment and human health,”

    “The jury is well and truly in on this subject and the evidence shows that current GM crops are so rigorously assessed by regulators that they have to be as safe as a conventional crop to be approved. All the expert bodies around the world agree on that fact, and that opinion is confirmed by over 15 years of safe use,”

    “Statements that deny this are uninformed of a huge amount of evidence from around the world showing that GM crops have already delivered huge benefits to the environment.”

    The facts are:

    • To date, over 1 trillion meals with GM ingredients have been consumed worldwide without a single adverse health affect.
    • GM crops removed around 18 billion kg of CO2 (or 8 million cars) from the atmosphere globally in 2009 through reduced fuel use and increased soil carbon capture.
    • GM cotton in Australia has reduced insecticide use by 90 per cent and this has increased the biodiversity in GM cotton fields. It has also helped the Australian cotton industry to become the most water efficient in the world.
    • Through reducing losses to pests and increased yields GM crops are also reducing the pressure to convert wilderness areas into farmland.

    Matthew Cossey said “If GM crops had not been used to produce food, feed and fibre from 1996-2009, the world would have had to convert an area that is roughly the size of NSW to farmland in order to produce the same amount of food. We simply do not have this extra land to use.”

    “GM crops that are currently under development also have the potential to address serious nutrient deficiencies and improve the healthiness of the foods that we eat. These include crops like high iron rice varieties that are being bred by Australian researchers”

    “CropLife believes that it is vital when considering the adoption of innovative technologies that policy makers listen to the scientific experts, including the many groundbreaking Australian crop researchers.”