Greenpeace calls on CSIRO to come clean on commercial relationships

Press release - 15 July, 2011
Friday 15 July 2011, Sydney: Greenpeace is once again calling on CSIRO to publicly reveal the corporate relationships behind the GM wheat trials.

The GM wheat field trial which Greenpeace removed from the environment yesterday was proposed and approved while two directors of Nufarm - the exclusive distributor of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready products in Australia - were serving on the board of CSIRO. Monsanto co-owns Intergrain which is running GM wheat trials in West Australia.

In South Australia, GM wheat trials are run by the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG). Mark Tester, a former Monsanto employee, is on the ACPFG Board, as is Joshua Hoffheimer, lawyer for Monsanto.

“Australia needs CSIRO to be strong and independent, but their closeness with foreign GM companies has created a clear conflict of interest,” said Greenpeace Food Campaigner Laura Kelly. “Greenpeace has repeatedly called on CSIRO to reveal the precise nature of its corporate links: something they have failed to do, even denying Freedom of Information requests.”

“It is a tragedy CSIRO been forced to go cap in hand to multinational corporations for funding. GM wheat has already been rejected in Canada, North America, Russia and the EU. CSIRO’s research should be in the interests of Australians, not risking our daily bread for the profit of foreign biotech.”

Instead of responding to the allegations, Greenpeace has been accused of being anti-science.  

“We feel it’s important to clarify our position,” said Kelly. “Greenpeace has the utmost respect for science and scientists and we support safe research. It is essential the Australian Government protects the integrity of our peak scientific body and its ability to conduct independent science.”

“This is exactly why CSIRO has got to come clean with the Australian community about their commercial relationships with the foreign biotech corporations. And the Australian Government has got to commit to increasing the funding for our national science body so they are not forced into commercial relationships and can once again be an independent world-class science organisation.”

Greenpeace remains opposed to risky experiments with something as fundamental as our food and the environment we depend on for life.

Read the report: ‘Australia’s Wheat Scandal.’

Read an open to letter to CSIRO from eminent scientists

For more information, contact:

Media Advisor: Elsa Evers, 0438 204 04 or James Lorenz, 0400 376 021

Photos and video: Abe Powell, 0409 812 641

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