Barnett throws caution to the wind on potential GM risks

Thursday 20 Sep 2012

Paul Papalia MLA, Shadow Minister for Agriculture

A new study published in respected US science journal Food and Chemical Toxicology linked consumption of Genetically Modified (GM) food to cancer, raising serious questions about the Barnett Government's promotion of GM farming in WA, Shadow Agriculture Minister Paul Papalia said today.

Mr Papalia said the Barnett Government introduced commercial-scale GM farming to WA and confirmed in Parliament it took no interest in whether these crops entered the food chain or if they were safe.

"This is the second peer-reviewed research paper in the space of a week that urges caution in respect of potential health risks of GM food," Mr Papalia said.

"The Barnett Government should be acting in a cautious manner in defence of Western Australian people, for whom it should be working. Instead, it has sold part of the crop-breeding division of the Agriculture Department to a multinational GM company.

"Whose side is Mr Barnett on?

"The people of Western Australia should be the government's priority.

"Mr Barnett appears determined to act in the interests of multinational GM companies and those with a financial interest in GM products."

Mr Papalia said in light of the report, Mr Barnett must answer these serious questions:

  • Have locally grown GM crops entered the state's food chain and, if so where and when?
  • What will the Barnett Government do now to ensure the safety of consumers?  
  • Has the Barnett Government sought legal advice regarding the state's exposure to liability for potential negative health outcomes?

"Mr Barnett must reveal if and where WA-grown GM crops entered the State's food chain and what he has done to ensure their safety following this report," Mr Papalia said.

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