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Sam Statham on the virtues of organic food

Sam Statham, one of our Directors, thinks we need to be much more careful to ensure our food is safe, nutritious and GM free.

TRANSCRIPT

G'day. I'm Sam Statham, an organic farmer from the Central West of NSW.

For over two decades I've been growing food here with my family without chemicals. This farm has never been sprayed since we've been here. But over the same period of time we've seen that other farmers are using as much or more chemicals. GM canola has been released and its resulted in people using more chemicals (1) with more residues on the final crop (2) and a lot of farmers saying it doesn't work anyway (3). Most recently we've seen that GMO canola plants are going to end up on organic farms with no protection from contamination or compensation from the government when that happens (4).

Now the government is about to de-regulate a whole new generation of GMOs that are going to end up on organic farms as well. These are new GMO "gene editing" techniques which are supposed to produce results which "could" appear in Nature. I'm not convinced that just because something can occur in Nature means its safe. The way they are doing it can result in a lot of unexpected changes and unintended consequences resulting in potential toxicity or allergenicity. These things are too new. They haven't been tested for long enough.

I am pro science. Pro science to prove that these sorts of new foods are safe for us. Science for public good, not science for private profit.

Do we really need these things to feed the world? Here's an organic farm that for 22 years has not had a single chemical on it, is not GMO, and is resilient, productive and healthy. Even through two droughts, these trees have continued to produce good quality fruit. They say we need these GMOs for medical progress. Fair enough, use those GMOs for medical progress but you don't have to use that as a Trojan Horse to introduce unlabeled GMO food into the food supply and the farming landscape. They say that we've been eating GMO foods for the last 20 years anyway, so they must be safe. In the last 20 years we've seen that many more food intolerances, allergies, gut disorders, behavioural problems...

I'm just glad my kids are happy and healthy and we don't have any of these. We are so lucky, but the main responsibility I have to my kids is to teach them to make healthy food choices and to read the label before they buy a product. Now the Government is going to take that away from the next generation. Our kids wont be able to just read the label and find out if its got GMOs in it. I think that's unfair and based on bad science and corporate greed. And we don't need it.

Please, lets do something about this. I don't think many people even know its happening. We need to get the word out. We need to do something. At all levels of Government something can be done. Lets keep our food supply safe, nutritious and GM free.

Thankyou
Sam

(1) Broken Promises of Genetically Modified Crops, By KARL RUSSELL and DANNY HAKIM OCT. 29, 2016 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/30/business/gmo-crops-pesticides.html

(2) TRADE ADVICE NOTICE on Glyphosate , APVMA Product Number P66117, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 2014, https://apvma.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication/13291-tan-glyphosate.rtf

(3) Independent Review of the South Australian GM Food Crop Moratorium, Report to the SA Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development March 2019, p8 https://pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/339225/Independent_Review_of_the_South_Australian_GM_Food_Crop_Moratorium.pdf

(4) MARSHvBAXTER[2014] WASC 187(CIV 1561 of 2012) JUDGMENT SUMMARY https://ecourts.justice.wa.gov.au/eCourtsPortal/Decisions/ViewDecision?returnUrl=%2feCourtsPortal%2fDecisions%2fFilter%2fSC%2fPartyNames&id=5b9f82f4-2842-8774-4825-7ce600216197