A medical release from Senator Len Harris - Australia A genetically engineered plant from Canada, Canola, derived from rapeseed, a member of the mustard family, this man-made oil is commonly used for lubrication in small industry. How on earth has this poisonous seed found its way into our foodchain? After considerable doctoring it even made it to the GRAS list! Generally regarded as safe? A 'safe' oil when no insect will touch it? An immunosuppressant in lab rats, found to interfere with proper food metabolism and normal enzyme function, why are these experimental crops being foisted on us? With the current brouhaha over 'highly infectious, fatal viruses', why would our government risk introducing crops with the potential to further derail our immune systems? One Nation Senator Len Harris today called on Australians to fight the commercial release of Genetically Engineered canola, describing the crop as a biological time bomb which could turn Australian farmers into corporate serfs. His call follows an application by Bayer Crop Science to grow genetically engineered canola in all states. " This is the first application for a GE food crop to be grown commercially, in Australia. It will be the most controversial farm decision that a federal government has ever made," Senator Harris said. Launching One Nation's campaign to 'Stop the Crop', Senator Harris said he was disgusted that the federal government's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator had given in principal support for GE canola with only minimal licence conditions. " Concerns raised by non-gm farmers, harvesting contractors, consumers and independent experts about the hazards of genetically engineered crops have been flagrantly disregarded in the government's assessment," he said. Senator Harris said one of the most pressing problems was that the commercialisation of GE varieties meant farmers would lose the right to control their own seed, leading to dependence upon large agribusiness for patented seeds and technology inputs. " In the US and Canada, farmers suspected of saving patented seeds, or 'brown bagging', can be reported to a 'dob in' line. They have been harassed, threatened, bullied and gagged from speaking out by belligerent agrochemical companies," Senator Harris said. starting point of the entire food chain and contamination is undesirable." Senator Harris said the genetic status of foundation seed stock, particularly staples such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, legumes and oilseed was being compromised by the insertion of foreign genes. " Markers for antibiotic resistance and genes to produce male sterility have been used in the lines of Canola that Bayer is applying to licence. The gene transfer method used a bacterium vector said to be 'disarmed' of its tumor inducing functions," Senator Harris said. " Bayer is making one application is for seven lines. Five have been modified to produce hybrid seeds and all seven have been engineered for tolerance to the herbicide Basta (Glufosinate ammonium) marketed under the trade name Liberty®. This herbicide is not yet registered for broad acre cropping in Australia." Senator Harris said. " Other important concerns over GE crops include the very low level of scientific proof of safety, unpredictable health effects of GE crops, environmental problems such as the emergence of herbicide resistant 'superweeds' and the rights of consumers to choose foods which have not been genetically modified.. Senator Harris said there had been no detailed government assessments regarding the impact of GE canola on Australia's trade, despite the fact that GE crops grown in Canada and the USA had been disastrous for some farmers. Furthermore, the recommendations the government's Gene Technology Community Consultative Committee (GTCCC) have been totally ignored," Senator Harris said. " The GTTCC 's statement, issued on 20 February 2003 said: CFThe GTCCC expresses concern that a state of community unreadiness exists concerning the risks to the environment of the commercial release of GM canola, so significant that the applications should be declined at this time.,"