Keep Australian Organic produce GM-free, Stop changes to National Standards.

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Currently there is a submission by Australian Organics to change the National Standards to remove the reasonable wait period for farms converting to Certified Organic, where the farm has grown GM produce. This is unacceptable as produce from such farms will be able to be labelled as Certified Organic or Organic-In-Conversion despite inevitable contamination of GM seed and/or chemicals (such as glyphosate, commonly known as Round Up).

Certified Organic and Biodynamic products are consumers' only guaranteed access to 100% GM-free food. The various organic certifying bodies and the Standards which they follow have a responsibility to ensure that consumer access to 100% GM-free food is absolutely guaranteed, and a responsibility to ensure transparency to consumers surrounding potential GM contamination.

Consumers of organic food will not accept potential GM contamination in certified organic or organic-in-conversion products. Any change to the Standards to remove or reduce the wait period for farms that have previously used GM seeds or sprays (e.g. glyphosate) is unacceptable, as this will mislead the consumer into believing they are buying GM-free foods when there may be contamination. Proposals for such changes to the Standards are rejected by consumers. Consumers of organic food express their concern about the integrity of certifying and regulatory bodies for even considering this change to the Standards. We believe the proposed changes contradict the principles and purpose of organic farming, and would muddy the integrity of the organic farming industry. These changes to the Standards would result in an enormous lack of trust of all certifying bodies and certified products.

Tell OISCC to preserve the integrity of Certified Organic Food and protect consumer confidence in Australian organic produce by maintaining the requirement for Mandatory Wait Periods for Organic Conversion.

Sign this petition and lodge a submission with OISCC: https://oiscc.org/national-standards-sub-committee/current-submissions/ (lodge submission under number 5(b))

More information:

GM seeds are patented to chemical corporations, and are engineered such that they encourage use of chemicals such as glyphosate (commonly known as Round Up) at a high rate in their production process. Both these chemicals and the crops grown from GM seed are not proven safe to human and animal health or the environment. It is widely accepted that seed can lay dormant in the soil for a number of years. This means that a farm which has previously sown GM seed can still be producing a contaminated crop for years after the last application of GM seed.

Furthermore, predictions and assumptions about the persistence of glyphosate in the environment have been shown to be inaccurate. Glyphosate has been found to have a half life of up to 197 days in certain soil conditions and up to 91 days in certain water conditions. The glyphosate metabolite has been found up to 2 years after application in certain soil conditions. There is a wide variability in the breakdown of glyphosate based on enormous variations in water and soil conditions. If the current mandatory 5 year wait period is removed or reduced, it is highly likely that future crops will be contaminated by GM seed yet still able to be labelled as Certified Organic or Organic-In-Conversion.

Therefore, in order to avoid contamination, an extended wait period is not only reasonable but essential.

The current Standards for Organic certification include clauses that call for a mandatory wait period of 5 years when a farm that has previously had GM crops or livestock production is converting to a Certified Organic farm (see Clause 1.1.12 and 1.3.4 from the National Standards below).

The proposed removal from the National Standards of the 5 year waiting period for land under GMO production is a great concern to the integrity of the certification process that currently ensures consumers a product free from GMO contamination. If clauses 1.1.12 and 1.3.4 are approved for removal, it will allow land that recently had GMO crops or livestock production to continue with conversion to organic certification with no minimum wait of 5 years.

Clause 1.1.12
Where Genetically Modified crops have been grown on a production unit, a minimum of at least five years must elapse before products grown or produced on said area can be certified according to this Standard.

Clause 1.3.4
Where genetically modified crops or livestock have been grown or used on a production unit, other than a landless system, a minimum of at least five years must have elapsed before products grown in or on that land can be certified according to this standard.

OISCC is accepting public submissions on this issue. Please go to https://oiscc.org/national-standards-sub-committee/current-submissions/ and lodge your submission under number 5(b) as well as signing this petition, to ensure OISCC hears us loud and clear!

References:
Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement, John Peterson Myers, et al. Environ Health. 2016; 15: 19. Published online 2016 Feb 17. doi: 10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756530/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate



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