Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance today met a Japanese delegation to hear first-hand about the millions of Japanese consumers who want to continue eating non-GM products from Western Australia.
The Consumers Union of Japan presented Mr Chance with a petition signed by more than 150 companies, representing almost three million Japanese consumers, urging the State Government to continue its moratorium on the commercial production of Genetically Modified (GM) crops.
“There is a huge number of Japanese consumers who want to be assured they are buying a non-GM product,” he said.
“I believe it is time for the people who want to see GMs more readily adopted to start approaching consumers, both domestically and overseas.
“There is unlikely to be any change in government policy until there is a shift in what consumers are telling us.
“Until we know more about GM crops, especially GM food crops, I believe it is a wise move to continue with the moratorium.
“We want to take some time to understand the effects of GM crops and to leave our options open. Although some advocates for adopting the technology may not realise it now, the introduction of GM technology is effectively irreversible.
“Overseas experience has shown that once you adopt GM crops, you lose whole markets or suffer restricted market access.”
The Minister said the State Government was in the process of working through the full range of issues associated with GM technology with industry through the Genetically Modified Organism Industry Reference Group.
“The State Government's moratorium on GM crops runs for the term of Government and will, as with all government policies, be reviewed,” he said.
Mr Chance said he was not under any pressure to lift the moratorium, but wanted any review to proceed in a proper and transparent way.
The moratorium on GM crops supported the State’s ‘clean and green’ status and would look after the lifestyle of farming communities by protecting our overseas markets and environment,” he said.
“It will also ensure that WA consumers, and consumers in important overseas markets such as Japan, continue to have a choice about the food they wish to eat.”
Minister's office - 9213 6700