NASAA respond to WA GM contamination

Posted by Josette Dunn on 3rd January 2011

NASAA have confirmed reports that longstanding WA grower, Steve Marsh, has recently been the victim of GM contamination despite his best efforts to avoid it.


Following confirmation that the genetically manipulated (GM) canola plants have indeed contaminated Steve Marsh’s certified organic farm from a neighboring property, NASAA has decertified the affected portion of his farm (325 ha’s) until it can be demonstrated that these areas are GM free.

For future certification to be regained on the affected land it will require complete removal of all contaminating GM canola and proven evidence that there will be no more germination of such plants as a result of this contamination. As a result of Steve’s organic status being compromised and withdrawn across the contaminated areas for an indefinite period, he will effectively be unable to market produce from these areas as certified organic until a complete clean up has occurred if this is possible.

Stephanie Goldfinch, Executive Officer of NASAA Certified Organic (NCO) (NASAA’s certification subsidiary), said:

“Certified organic farmers are subject to more scrutiny than non organic farmers and do this voluntarily. This indicates their commitment to the consumer and the environment to provide food that is organic and not genetically modified.”

NASAA certified organic produce has zero tolerance for GM content which is in line with the requirements of the National Standard for Organic & Bio-Dynamic Produce and the Australian National Organic Standard AS6000. This is to ensure the integrity and quality of NASAA organic produce for businesses and consumers alike.

Jan Denham, NASAA Chairman said today:

“The WA government should give full assistance to Mr Marsh to ensure that these GM plants are removed from his property as soon as possible so that he may have his certification status reassessed.

This issue highlights the risk to not only organic farmers but all farmers not wishing to grow GM plants on their farms. Greater protection is needed for those who do not wish to be involved with GM crops.

This occurrence clearly shows that farmers involved in growing GM crops need much stricter regulations and supervision to prevent future events.

NASAA is calling on the WA Government and the Minister to hold a full and open inquiry into this contamination with the results released as soon as possible”