Japan says no to GMO

23 Oct, 2007 09:00 PM
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THE pro-genetically modified organism (GMO) lobby has found an unlikely opponent in its bid to have the state’s moratoria on genetically modified (GM) food crops lifted.

A delegation of Japanese consumers visited Australia as part of a publicity campaign designed to keep the various bans in place.

The No! GMO Campaign, an alliance of over Japanese consumer and farmer groups, representing 2.9 million Japanese consumers, met with State Government officials in South Australia, Victoria and NSW last week.

The group was also in WA on Monday and met with State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance to put forward its concerns about the quality of food imported into Japan.

The group used the opportunity to express fears about GM food products, and presented Mr Chance with a petition signed by 155 Japanese organisations that represented the 2.9m Japanese consumers.

Campaign spokesman Ryoko Shimizu said the group’s major concern was with food safety.

“We Japanese consumers are now standing at a critical crossroads in assuring our food safety,” Mr Shimizu said.

“Australia is the only country that can supply GM-free canola to food-importing countries like Japan. If the moratoria are lifted it would damage the reputation of Australian crops in Japan and Japanese consumers would stop buying Australian crops.”

Mr Chance hinted that the Japanese petition could yield influence on WA’s moratorium review.

“We need to maintain the confidence of our consumers, and particularly those in Japan,” he said.

“We will review the moratorium and we will review it along proper guidelines, including both the science of the question and the position that our consumers take, here in Australia and internationally.

“But amongst those consumers this very strong statement by Japanese consumers certainly helps us in our decision making.”

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