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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Marsh versus Baxter - GM contamination on trial

Stewart looked after the farm so I could be at the Perth Supreme court  to watch the first day of proceedings in the Marsh versus Baxter case on February 10th. I was interviewed by the BBC in London the following day, so the eyes of the world are definitely on Western Australia right now. This is a landmark case - the first time in the world a farmer has sued someone for loss of earnings due to GM contamination. It is a David and Goliath battle which challenges the farming regime brought about by corporate giant Monsanto.
We heard that Baxter (the defendent)  planted traditional canola in 4 paddocks in the middle of his farm (these were harvested by header) and GM canola in 2 paddocks adjoining Marsh farm. This crop was swathed, in what seems like a deliberate attempt to contaminate. As these allegations of negligence emerged Mr Marsh's barrister highlighted that Mr Baxter had  failed in his duty of care towards his neighbour. Hopefully this sends a message to farmers around the world . Hopefully freedom of choice for farmers and consumers will prevail.  If Monsanto have their way, there will be a greater tolerance for GM material in non-GM and organic crops. But consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want a choice to avoid GM food. Australian organic standards have a zero tolerance for GM. So does the ACCC (Australian competition and consumer commission) who insist that any food labelled as GM free is 100% FREE of GMOs. More than 98% of GM crops hide unlabelled in processed foods and livestock food. 
So how do you avoid GM food? Don't buy processed food or animal products unless they are certified organic or you personally  know the grower/maker as knowledgeable and dedicated to GM free food . Look for Non GM or GM free  labels. 
  Monsanto's takeover of seeds and the food supply is going on very much under the radar of most people as the major news outlets do not report it.
The result of this case will impact on every one of us who eats. It will affect the diet and therefore the health of our pets and livestock .The entire continent of Canada was contaminated with GM canola within 2 years of it being introduced, but  IMAGINE being a farmer who has  no choice of what to grow.   Canadians had to plant patented seeds belonging to Monsanto, there were no other varieties available. Here in WA last year , farmers were offered the "buy 2 and get the 3rd bag free" deal for canola seed ( which was GM but that was only mentioned in jargon in the fine print). There was great support for Marsh over the weekend and again at the court.People came out to say “ I want to eat natural food” like never before. They do not trust the safety claims of regulators who have previous employees of the biotech industry as their chiefs. Polls in Australia indicate that the vast majority of people want GM FREE food,   however proponents of this novel crop tell us that we can't expect a GM free diet, that it is impossible because "Nature doesn’t work that way" . Strange coming from genetic engineers who have no respect for (and no wish to know)  how nature works. In the incisive words of Janet Grogan " If Steve loses his case, food that consumers are demanding will be forcibly replaced" ..Health  ramifications are already huge. , we know 15 times more herbicide is used on these Round Up ready crops. We know from the Seralini studies that this an extremely potent biocide. Unbelievably, the recognised ‘safe limit’ for Round Up has actually been raised to accommodate the increased Round Up residues on GM foods. The dangers of Round Up are largely minimized and/or under-reported but in fact this herbicide is linked to  24 diseases.  Glyphosate disrupts our hormones and induces cancer , infertility, and birth defects . 

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