ABARE report: GM crops have minimal impact on organic industries

Made possible partly by the established separation of organic and conventional products, the use of genetically modified canola has only a negligible impact on the production of organic canola, livestock, and honey in Australia. This is the result of a report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

A study has found that co-existence is possible – at least for canola, and at least in Australia. The report published by ABARE shows that the cultivation of genetically modified canola has only a negligible impact on organic canola and its derived food and feed. The authors emphasise, however, that this result is valid only for canola and that other GM crops may have different impacts.

The co-existence of GM and organic canola in Australia is eased by procedures already established to separate organic and conventional products: for example, certified organic crops must be isolated from their non-organic counterparts, and bees producing organic honey are not permitted to forage on conventional crops.

However, organic producers have criticised the report, and raise the argument that it contradicts itself by stressing that the cost of avoiding GM crop traces is beyond its scope.