GM wheat gets the chop, Australia

Update: offices raided week after decontamination / French scientist discovers signs of toxic effects related to eating GM foods / action video

14 July 2011

Greenpeace activists, including one mother who wants to protect her family, have stopped a GM wheat experiment outside Canberra this morning.

Two women used whipper snippers to remove a controversial genetically modified (GM) wheat crop before day break.

The activists constructed a decontamination area to safely dispose of the untested and potentially unstable GM organisms.

Safety in question

The activity follows the revelation that Australia’s peak scientific body, CSIRO, is conducting the world’s first human feeding trials of GM wheat, without adequate safety testing.

“This GM wheat should never have left the lab,” said activist and mother, Heather McCabe. “I'm sick of being treated like a dumb Mum who doesn’t understand the science. As far as I’m concerned, my family's health is just too important. GM wheat is not safe, and if the government can't protect the safety of my family, then I will.”

CSIRO’s wheat experiment came under recent scrutiny when eight international scientists and doctors questioned the ethics and scientific rigour behind it. In an open letter the scientists questioned the safety of human feeding trials planned for later this year in which Australians would be fed GM wheat from the Canberra based trials.

Conflict of interest

On 30 June, CSIRO rejected a Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace which requested further information to ensure the safety of the human feeding trials, along with transparent information about the commercial partnerships CSIRO has with foreign biotech companies to commercialise GM wheat.

In a July report – Australia’s Wheat Scandal Greenpeace detailed a major conflict of interest at CSIRO. Two directors of the biotech giant Nufarm – the distributor of Monsanto’s products in Australia – also sat on the CSIRO board at the time of the wheat experiment’s approval. View the infographic detailing the connections

GM wheat has already been rejected in Canada, North America, Russia and the EU. The CSIRO is being used as a front for foreign biotech companies; this has compromised its research and put Australia’s multi-billion dollar wheat industry at risk.

Inevitable contamination

All of the evidence shows that GM can’t be contained in the field. Greenpeace has taken action to protect our food supply being contaminated by experimental GM wheat. Now the Australian Government must step in and protect the health of Australian people.

“We had no choice but to take action to bring an end to this experiment,” said Greenpeace Food campaigner Laura Kelly. “GM has never been proven safe to eat and once released in open experiments, it will contaminate. This is about the protection of our health, the protection of our environment and the protection of our daily bread.”

Trials of potentially unstable GM wheat strains are currently planted in five states and territories across Australia

TAKE ACTION: Tell the government to end its controversial GM wheat trials

READ THE REPORT: The biotech takeover of our daily bread

MORE INFORMATION: Follow the story so far