A group of Japanese consumer representatives currently visiting Western Australia have been assured by Labor Premier Alan Carpenter that the state's current moratorium genetically modified (GM) organisms will not be removed. The assurance was made during parliamentary question time on June 11.
Carpenter acknowledged the presence of the group, which is in WA on a mission to secure ongoing GM-free canola for Japan, and spoke of the importance of the Japanese market to WA canola exporters.
Japan is WA's largest customer for canola and cereal crops, with the industry valued at $550 million per year. The approximately 146,000 tonnes of WA canola currently going to Japan represents about 50% of Australia's canola exports.
Carpenter also said that the present lack of labelling of foods containing GM ingredients was unacceptable and that consumers have the right to know what they are eating. In an earlier statement, Carpenter called for a halt to the approval of GM foods in Australia until more is known about the safety of eating them.
Earlier in the day, WA agriculture minister Kim Chance met the Japanese and accepted petitions from the Say No to GMO that called for a strict liability regime, full labelling of GM ingredients and the extension of the current GM moratorium by 10 years.
Following their visit to parliament the Japanese representatives met with the some members from the Network of Concerned Consumers, part of the Say No to GMO campaign.