Monday, 28 November, Cunderdin: Independent tests conducted yesterday by WA farmers Ian and Jodi James have confirmed GM canola contamination on their land. The findings counter WA Agriculture Department reports of no contamination and are prompting demands that the department conduct thorough and rigorous testing of the James’ land.
Using test-strips provided by Greenpeace, Mr and Mrs James found 13 positive results for GM canola on their non-GM canola farm near Cunderdin. Three of the positives tests were found on the James’ land, up to 20 metres into the paddock. The pair will continue testing throughout the day.
“I feel really let down by the WA Agricultural Department,” said Ian James. “They sent people out to do testing when we first raised concerns about contamination, but they barely stayed an hour before saying they couldn’t find anything on our land and shot off.”
According to the Agriculture Department, their testing showed just one positive result in the drain on the James’ side of the road. The Agriculture Department found no positive results on the James’ land. The department has yet to provide testing documentation to the James’.
Assisted by Greenpeace, Ian and Jodi James used a similar testing approach to the WA Agriculture Department. They tested along the path where water washed across the road from the neighbour’s paddock and into the James’ paddock during storms of Thursday, November 3th.
“It is outrageous that the WA Agriculture Department rushed testing to produce a negative result on Ian and Jodi’s land,” said Greenpeace sustainable agriculture campaigner, Laura Kelly. “This is their livelihood; the government approved GM crops knowing it would threaten their business, and then didn’t even have the decency to perform proper testing. This calls into question the independence of the WA Government in the GM debate.”
“The whole process has been really emotionally draining for our family, especially right in the middle of harvest,” said Jodi James.
“Terry Redman and the WA agriculture department need to come back here with an independent, 3rd party observer, to perform thorough, rigorous testing of our land,” said Ian James. “They’ve just done a few tests and swept it under the carpet."
Current premiums for non-GM canola are between $40 and $60 per tonne.
For interviews and images:
Elsa Evers, Greenpeace Media Advisor, 0438 204 041
Ian James, Canola Farmer, 0429 303 131