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Genetically modified canola
Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Thursday, 17 March 2011]
Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Robyn McSweeney
GENETICALLY MODIFIED CANOLA
Hon LYNN MacLAREN to the minister representing the Minister for Agriculture and Food:
(1) Is the minister aware that, according to Co-operative Bulk Handling Ltd, non-genetically modified
canola is currently attracting a premium of $50 a tonne over GM canola?
(2) Is the minister aware that the European Union has a 0.9 per cent labelling threshold for the adventitious
presence of genetically modified organisms in the non-GMO food and feed products?
(3) Is the minister aware of the Canadian research that found that out of 33 samples of certified non-GM
canola seed, 32 samples were contaminated with GM varieties, with three of the samples having
contamination levels above two per cent?
(4) Is the minister aware of the UK government study that found that GM canola can crosspollinate with
non-GM canola more than 26 kilometres away?
(5) Given that canola is an open pollinated crop, how does the minister propose to protect WA’s valuable
non-GM canola export market to Europe, which has accounted for up to 90 per cent of the state’s canola
exports in recent years, from GM contamination?
Hon ROBYN McSWEENEY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(3) Yes. The paper the member referred to was aimed at assessing varietal purity using herbicide-resistant
trait as an indicator of purity. The data indicates that some seed lots did not meet the 99.75 per cent
requirement for Canadian seed lots and that some seed lots were in excess of two per cent for the GM
(5) Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that the European Union has accounted for up to a maximum
56 per cent of WA’s canola exports from 2005 to 2010. The European Union is an opportunistic market
for WA canola. The results of the 2009 GM canola trials program showed the WA grains industry could
effectively segregate non-GM canola from GM canola. CBH Group has reported that there has been
effective segregation of non-GM canola from GM canola in the 2010–11 season.