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Media Release: Australia should turn away from GM crops, new study shows

A new research paper [1]published today in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability confirms that genetically modified (GM) crops have lower yields than non-GM crops. It also corroborates previous studies showing that GM crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use.


This new research, lead by molecular biologist Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, is based on compiled data on agricultural productivity in North America and Western Europe over the last 50 years. These two regions have systematically taken very different approaches to the introduction of GM crops and land management practices. The United States (US) was the first country to plant commercial GM seeds in 1996 and aggresively adopted them. They are still the bigger producers by far. In Europe GM crops have remained uncommon due to high levels of concern amongst consumers and only a small amount of GM crops have been planted.


« Many studies show that GM crops have not kept their promises. They are harmful to the environment, risky to consumers and unsustainable for farmers. They don't answer in any way the challenges the world is facing for future production of food.» Scott Kinnear, Director of the Safe Food Foundation, said.


«  More than 90% of cotton crops and about 10 % of canola crops grown in Australia are already genetically engineered. Commercial varieties of GM wheat could be authorised as soon as 2015 [2].  Australia is at a crossroad as far as the use of GM crops in agriculture is concerned. It is now time to decide if we want to follow the US example leading to higher pesticide use and lower productivity, or if we prefer to adopt the European high performance, lower pesticide agricultural model and turn away from GM crops. » he added.


For interview or more information


Scott Kinnear, Director, The Safe Food Foundation :  04 19 881 729

[1]          "Sustainability and Innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest" by J.A. Heinemann, M. Massaro, D.S. Coray, S.Z. Agapito-Tenfen and J.D. Wen. Paper is open access:

[2] CSIRO, 2008. GM wheat and barley trial, OGTR application DIR093. Food Futures Flagship. [pdf] Available at: <> [Accessed 18 June 2013].

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