OIA has lodged a submission to FSANZ on a proposal to change the definitions for gene technology and new breeding techniques.
- Overall, while we support improved clarity for the definition of GM food, we think this proposal is designed to confuse rather than clarify. In particular, the assessment promotes a false equivalence that new breeding technique (NBT) food is produced with an outcome that might occur using natural selection techniques. That is clearly not the case, and the onus should be on the proponent to prove the safety of every instance of GM manipulation.
- We are most concerned that this acceptance of GM food, if adopted, will then be used as a base from which will come further proposals to exempt genetic modifications from safety assessment. Once some GM food is exempt, there will be a lower hurdle to a future proposal to exempt GM food just a little more.
- The organic industry is deeply concerned that tactical GM deregulation of this type will compromise certified organic exports to the European Union and China, and will erode consumer confidence in Australian food producers and manufacturers. Overwhelmingly, overseas markets do not want GM foods, and are worried by the environmental contamination of our organic foods with GM breeds. And we consider that Australian consumers should be afforded more transparency and safety, not less.