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GMO’s of any kind and organics simply don’t mix

Australia’s original organic certification organisation, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA), has welcomed the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)’s position against genetically modified organisms (GMO) created through new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR.

At its recent general assembly, IFOAM reaffirmed the global sector’s commitment to consumers to effectively exclude GMOs from its production systems and urge policy-makers to regulate the use of GMOs obtained by recent techniques.

“The Australian standard is very clear from our perspective,” said Mark Anderson, General Manager, NASAA following the announcement. “GMO’s of any kind and organics simply don’t mix.

“It would be a slippery slope should the door ever open to genome editing within our current regulatory framework. The integrity of our iconic national brand certification would risk irreversible damage,” he said.

“Organic farming is centred squarely on consumer trust and, at NASAA, we take that very seriously. There is a real risk of eroding the public’s faith in the purity of Australian organic produce as a result of changes to regulations or inconsistent standards.”

The Australian Government’s Gene Technology Regulator is undertaking a technical review of the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (the Technical Review) to provide clarity about whether organisms developed using a range of new technologies are subject to regulation as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and ensure that new technologies are regulated in a manner commensurate with the risks they pose.

“Australia has earned an enviable reputation for maintaining strict organic certification for over three decades,” said Mr Anderson. “We stand beside fellow organic movement member groups across the world in speaking out against new genetic engineering techniques and the adverse impact they could have on our own organic farming sector without appropriate regulation.”