Organic standards too strict: CropLife

18 Apr, 2012 02:00 AM
Matthew Cossey.
Matthew Cossey.

CROPLIFE Australia chief executive Matthew Cossey says the co-existence of all farming systems is vital for the sustainability of Australia’s agriculture industry, with the successful co-existence of different production systems occurring across the country and across the world for many years.

He says the ability of each Australian farmer to choose what they wish to produce allows them to adapt quickly to customer desires and provide the foods that Australians want to eat.

But Mr Cossey believes co-existence is being strained because Australia’s organic standards are out of step with the rest of the world by not providing appropriate tolerances.

A zero tolerance to genetically modified crops underpins the organic certification central to the Kojonup case involving two neighbours now embroiled in legal action over alleged GM “contamination” in late 2010.

Mr Cossey says there is no scientific basis that would justify this ongoing restriction on tolerances in relevant regulation and is demanding government intervention.

“Decertification of organic crops unnecessarily occurs in Australia in circumstances that would not result in decertification of the exact same crop in the exact same circumstance in any other country,” he said.

“This disadvantages all Australian farmers and is a matter the federal government should immediately address.

“Internationally recognised organic certification standards and procedures provide tolerances and lee-ways to reflect the reality of operating in biological systems and large agricultural supply chains.

“It is noteworthy that products certified as organic under these international standards are recognised by AQIS as conforming to the Australian Organic Standard and may be freely imported into Australia.”

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18/04/2012 5:18:09 AM

CropLife is a misnomer. A name like that ought to align more with "life" - organic principles, living soils, etc. The patented design feature of GM Roundup-Ready crops is that you can spray the patent owner's chemical Roundup over the patented crop to kill everything but the crop. Then to kill the non-target weeds and Roundup-resistant weeds & volunteers, simply spray more and different chemicals from the patent owner. Nice closed-loop design! GM crops are a solution to a problem that doesn't need fixing, creating a problem that does need fixing, that the same company sells the fix for.
John Newton
18/04/2012 7:03:47 AM

Mr Crossey wants Australian organic farming to move towards the almost entirely useless Big Ag dominated American system, a system commented on by farmer Joel Salatin who said "why should I lower my standards to certify organic?"
18/04/2012 10:44:41 AM

CropLife and conventional agriculture are hostages to major multinational chemical companies. Resistence to the science based chemical "solutions" to weed control is proving we need to seek a new model for agriculture. The organic and GM debate has been hijacked by commercial interests trying to sell more chemicals that will destroy our health and ultimately render our most productive farmland unfarmable
The Farmer
18/04/2012 1:29:08 PM

@Mike The debate has actually be hijacked by the anti-GM groups. Just have a look at who is the court case.
18/04/2012 5:36:43 PM

Mr Cossey, you cannot be a little bit pregnant! GM co-existence with conventional or organic is a misnomer. GM cannot be contained and will always contaminate with detrimental impacts regardless of all the promises made by GM proponents. GM is like a rogue bull, always in the wrong place and always causing problems. There is no place for GM and it should be banned before it destroys market opportunities. There are an increasing number of countries smart enough to ban GM, why are Australians slow to wake up to massive problems associated with GM. It is unsafe, unsustainable and unnecessary.
18/04/2012 6:45:24 PM

Mike, The GM debate cannot be "hijacked" by commercial interests trying to sell more chemicals. GM is the "driver" of exactly that. GM companies ARE chemical companies. Indeed, the patented gene in Roundup-Resistant canola was discovered after noticing that bacteria in the chemical sludge on the floor of the Roundup factory were developing resistance to the chemical. By buying Monsanto's GM RR canola seed, you are buying into using their "special" Roundup that the RR canola was designed for. ALSO ... to kill residual weeds, you buy others of their RR-compatible chemicals. ALSO ... !!??
brett sanders
18/04/2012 7:56:11 PM

" .the reality of operating in biological systems"- Croplife and Cossey etc have absolutely no idea of biological systems. They espouse an agricultural system that toxically tries to beat biology and nature into submission. Escalating usage of toxic rescue chemistry. It's expensive... It wrecks and damages- ecosystems, soils, water, DNA, and overall health to many of the earths inhabitants, on a very large scale. One big toxic mess that never gets better. Except for the profits of Monsanto et al.
19/04/2012 4:28:59 AM

Unfortunately Matthew Crossey does not know international organic standards. Here in North America the same level of contamination would have resulted in exactly the same loss of certification. Very few organic standards have a low level presence for GM contamination. As an orgnaic inspector, farmer and organic eater I hope it stays that way.
Ian Mott
19/04/2012 8:39:08 AM

The nutters can sound off all they want in the blogasphere but the courts have an obligation to base their decisions on the conclusions of reasonable men and women in full possession of ALL the relevant facts. And a certification system that denies certification for a wheat crop on the basis of wind blown canola seed will fail the test of reasonableness. Never forget that the consequences that can trigger action in common law can only be reasonable ones. The courts have NEVER indulged nutters and their manias.
19/04/2012 8:51:35 PM

Thank you Stuart for confirming that organic standards are staying strong across the globe despite the push by Big Biotech to take us all down to their 'level playing field' of GM contamination (would you like a little or a lot?) Zero tolerance means just that, and that is what markets expect from certified organic foods.
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