The Safe Food Foundation (SFF) released the statement below on April 3.
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Slater & Gordon Solicitors today lodged a claim in the WA Supreme Court on behalf of an organic farmer seeking to recover loss and damage allegedly caused by a genetically modified canola farmer neighbour. Steve Marsh, an organic farmer from Kojonup, Western Australia, suffered contamination by genetically modified (GM) material on his farm in late 2010 leading to the loss of his organic certification and loss of income.
Slater & Gordon Solicitors are acting pro bono in the public interest. The Safe Food Foundation directed by Scott Kinnear, longstanding organic industry representative, is supporting Steve by raising funds to support the case. The SFF will coordinate the fund raising efforts of dozens of groups and thousands of individuals across Australia and internationally who have pledged to help Steve in this landmark legal battle.
Kinnear said: “Steve has been deluged with offers of help since news of his story broke. The Safe Food Foundation has taken on the coordination of fundraising as a major project in support of Steve and the right of farmers everywhere to grow GM-free foods; which ultimately equals consumers’ right to buy and eat GM-free foods and to avoid potentially dangerous toxic GM foods.
“There are legitimate concerns, derived from a body of developing research, that GM foods and the herbicide Roundup may be toxic.”
“Roundup Ready GM crops such as GM canola, are resistant to the application of Roundup which is used on the crops to control weeds, causing Roundup residues to enter our food chain.
“We believe that Steve Marsh’s case is the tip of the iceberg and that unless stopped, Australia will follow Canada and North Americas dangerous lead, where there is virtually no GM-free canola available and GM residues are commonly contaminating non GM grain crops.”
“We suggest farmers considering GM canola for this year, should reconsider their plans until this case has resolved the issue of contamination and common law responsibilities. If this case fails, then there will be no turning back the GM tide as contamination sweeps through our food supply. We simply cannot stand by and let this happen.”